Posted: September 22, 2016
Written by Guest Blogger Michelle Beane, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
On Saturday, September 17, 2016, I attended a CureSearch Walk in Tampa Bay, Florida, which is where I currently live. The event brought together survivors, families and supporters who have all been affected by cancer. We were all there to join the fight to end children’s cancer and to help CureSearch accelerate the search for cancer cures.
I was happy to be a part of the Walk because I work for CureSearch, and I was proud to do it to honor my brother Brad, who is a children’s cancer survivor himself.
Over 500 people attended the event, which raised $61,171! Here are some of the stories of the participants:
Kaitlyn was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a type of brain cancer, in December 2010. Sadly, she passed away on October 31, 2011 after a short battle with the horrible disease. Kaitlyn’s grandmother found out about CureSearch, and they participated in their first Walk while Kaitlyn was still living. They have continued to support CureSearch ever since because of the amount of funds that go to fund research. They hope that one day there will be better treatments and cures for all children with cancer.
Stacey Jenkins, Kaitlyn’s mother, has this advice to parents of children with cancer: “Make the most of the time that you have, take lots of pictures, and take the time to make memories.”
From Anissa Lane, sister of Daijha Lane:
“We used to think that cancer would never happen to our family. Yeah, we saw the commercials on television with sick kids, but it seemed so far away, like it would never happen to us. Until one day it did. Daijha was 14 years old when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We were able to participate in one Walk while Daijha was still living. Daijha passed away in 2013 at the age of 17. My advice for families is to cherish every minute and take advantage of the time spent. Often we hope for a cure and sometimes that isn’t the case, so it’s best just to live in the moment.”
Peter H. Shaw, MD, Deputy Director of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute
“I started working at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital on August 1, 2016. I formerly worked at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. During my pediatric residency for cancer and blood disorders, the children patients made it tough for me, and that’s why I wanted to focus in that area. I became aware of CureSearch a few years ago and recommend it to all of my patients and their families as a resource and tool. I like the CureSearch website because it has accurate information about a child’s condition and treatment. It’s tough for families not to panic once they learn that their child has cancer, and will often go searching for information that’s inaccurate and it scares them even more. The unknown is scarier than the known, and that’s why it’s important to have accurate information.”
During the Walk, Dr. Shaw presented medals to the children cancer survivors. Before he took the stage, there were white roses given to the parents of children who had passed away from cancer, and a sister spoke about losing her sister to cancer. When Dr. Shaw took the stage, tears were streaming down his face, which made me cry even harder. This incredible doctor looks childhood cancer in the face every day, and it still gets to him. He’s not a machine, and he wants to save as many children as possible.
I want to thank everyone who participated in the Walk and who shared their story with me. It’s because of you that I love what I do, and why I continue to be a part of the fight to end children’s cancer.
*Stay tuned for a personal blog from Michelle about being a cancer survivor’s sister. It will post on September 28.
Want more stories like this?
Get emails that matter, when it matters.