PoppyPocket: Supporting the Golden Children Diagnosed with Cancer

Children brighten up the world with their vivid, ever present imagination. With those big grins, they innocently explore all corners of the world -- while of course, avoiding the darkest nooks to avoid the monsters. Seeing our children grow up and discover their reality is a gift. It’s a treat to hear them discover their favorite animals; to hear their sleepy voices request just one more bedtime story; to hear them excitedly recall the events that took place on their first days of school. These are the golden moments of childhood. September is a month that is dedicated to these treasures -- our children. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Many may not realize that cancer is the leading cause of disease death in children under the age of 21. As many as 13,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and a quarter of those children usually will not survive the disease. September’s mission is to shine awareness on this childhood killer; encouraging the communities to become mindful of this disease’s prevalence in the children population. The advocacy efforts from organizations, institutions, hospitals and families who are wearing their golden ribbons are promoting the goals of this month, and there are a few September tasks that I find most important to me: 1) Researching for a cure. Researchers, scientists, and doctors have experimentally discovered that many of the adult cancers are results of lifestyle and environmental factors. However, childhood cancer cannot be explained through these same discoveries. Childhood cancer manifests in the body differently than adult diseases. Current research is focusing their attention on the genomic factors of childhood cancers, but it is a complex and challenging task. Thus, research funding is imperative to the reduction of cancer cases in children. 2) Promoting community involvement. When one voice is backed by a crowd, that person’s message is magnified. Communities coming together for a single goal can make the impossible possible. September encourages me, you, and your neighbor to dive into a project, an event, a run, a walk, etc. that supports the fight for childhood cancer. Community outreach plays a vital role in disease advocacy; I saw this first hand when I participated in Purple Stride Phoenix this past February to support Pancreatic Cancer. Even though many were a part of specific team, all those who participated – the survivors, patients, families, and friends – came together as one big, loving team in that park. 3) Providing resources for patients, survivors, and their families. Knowing personally that a cancer diagnosis in the family can flip your world upside down, I understand the struggles of coping with this new reality. How do you stay strong when you can’t help feeling helpless? Cancer patient resources for family and children provide lifestyle modifications that hopefully bring back a taste of structure and familiarity; rediscovering that comfort they had before or wish they had now. Treatment in cancer patients can be exhausting, stressful, and at times, painful. It inhibits the patient to be who they truly are and can hinder their energy that gets them excited for life. 001 Creating a PoppyPocket that fits children comfortably and discretely was something I wanted to do so that children who are undergoing chemotherapy can regain a sense of freedom in their mobility. In addition, I wanted to empower the child to explore more of life, like with Mickey and the gang at Disneyland or in their make-believe play with their brothers and sisters in the backyard. These three goals, among the many that fall under the umbrella of September’s priorities, are ones that hit home for me. Maybe you have specific goals this month that you are getting excited about, and if so I’d love to have you share them with me. Hoping you all take the time today to appreciate the golden moments during the development of your beautiful children. Live boldly, Julie