And still, Children's Hospital in Cincinnati is, I'm sure, open and treating patients who can't take a day off from their chemotherapy, from their radiation, from their fight to live another few days or weeks or - if they dare to dream - years.
I get to spend another day on the couch, working through Super Mario Brothers Wii, doing another load of laundry or two, watching the dogs romp through the backyard, and playing on the internet because mother nature has been kind enough to grace me with her snowy form of hooky.
Other families get to call the cab company and hope for a ride to the hospital. They get to wake up after spending another in an endless string of nights in the intensive care unit, holding their child's hand in hopes that they will get to eventually take that child home. They live out of suitcases, take short trips to their house, and come back day after day no matter the conditions of the roads. Driveways go unshoveled because they have to be back at the hospital if their child is to have any hope to fight the disease that mother nature has been unkind enough to grace them with.
If they're lucky - if their child fights the odds and gets to head home - then they get to spend another few years fighting for the educational assistance that their child is likely to need for the rest of their school career as the life-sustaining chemotherapy often causes damage to developing brains leaving their daughter, their son with learning disabilities and challenges that no one - much less a child who has fought for their life - should have to suffer.
Those children might grow up to be sterile, might have stunted growth patterns, might never have the same opportunities to thrive and survive that you and I will likely have because of the harshness of the treatments that they had to undergo as developing young people.
But still, every day the chances that those children will survive long enough to deal with those added challenges goes up. The rise in survival rates is incremental when looked at over small scales, but are staggering when viewed over the sixty year history since the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been working:
- From 1960 to 1963, the five-year relative survival rate among Americans of European descent with leukemia was 14 percent. From 1975 to 1977, the five-year relative survival rate for all persons with leukemia jumped to 35 percent, and from 1999 to 2005 the overall relative survival rate was 54 percent. The relative survival rates differ by the person's age at diagnosis, gender, race and the type of leukemia. (source)
- The five-year relative survival rate for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma has increased dramatically from 40 percent in whites from 1960 to 1963 to more than 86 percent for all races from 1999 to 2005. Five-year relative survival rates are 91.8 percent for all patients who were less than 45 years old at diagnosis. (source)
- The five-year relative survival has increased from 12 percent in 1960 to 1963 for whites to 37.1 percent from 1999 to 2005 for all races and ethnicities. The three-year survival rate as of January 2006 was nearly 56 percent. (source)
And some small part of the fight is being won because of Princeton High School's Pasta for Pennies Campaign.
Over the decade in which PHS has been involved in the campaign, we have raised of $325,000 to fund research into, subsidize patient services for, and educate young people about blood cancers.
I have spent enough time on this blog explaining why this campaign matter to me, why I own a copy of A Lion in the House, why I hate the Girl Scouts, that I would hope every one of you understands what this charity means to me, so I won't belabor the point further.
I have said it before, and I will close with exactly the same words that I closed with a year ago...
If you can, please take a moment and make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. You can donate via our campaign by going to this website and choosing the [Click Here to Contribute button].
You can also send us a check at the following address...
Lonnie DuschIf you're a little cash poor right now, then give the Society your time. Collect on your dorm floor...ask your neighbors for donations...contact your local LLS chapter and see what you can do to help out...sign yourself and your friends - or sports team - up for our 5K...find a school in your area that participates in the Pasta for Pennies or Pennies for Patients program and make a donation through them...
Princeton High School
11080 Chester Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45246
Just give something.
It's too important not to.