This month marks the 15th anniversary year of the Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy. It’s a milestone that we’ll be celebrating all year, but I want to take a moment to say why I started this organization.
I founded the Children’s Cause in 1999 to give voice to the concerns of childhood cancer patients, survivors and their families and to empower them to take leadership roles as national childhood cancer advocates. Like many of you, this mission was derived from personal experience.
My son Adam spent his 13 years of life struggling with a brain tumor, its treatment and aftermath. For me, the joy of his childhood was entangled with anguish about the inadequacy of treatments to make him well and the dire absence of interventions to help him develop normally.
The complex challenges of developing new therapies for children with cancer, and emerging knowledge about the harmful effects of current therapies were the founding ideas behind the Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy. Fifteen years ago, families’ and survivors’ urgency and perspectives on the need for new treatments and the struggles of survivors seemed to be absent in national cancer policy debates.
We’ve come so far. Over the past decade and a half, we have seen the results of our work. We’ve labored nationally to give childhood cancer friends, families and survivors the knowledge and skills to become informed responsible advocates. We’ve helped create a vibrant, collaborative, action-ready national community. We’ve been a catalyst for national recognition of childhood cancer concerns as founding members of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer and other coalitions, spurring the annual momentum of Childhood Cancer Action Days. Working with partners on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies and in other childhood cancer organizations, we’ve achieved legislative victories in pediatric drug development, survivorship support, and meaningful health care reform for survivors.
But we have much more work to do.
Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for our nation’s children, and the health and well being of childhood cancer survivors remains too fragile. The Children’s Cause will continue to press for progress for national policies that can give our children access to the most effective therapies and can normalize their lives as they grow. We hope you will join us as we work together to reach these goals for each child struggling with cancer.
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Editor's note: If you wish to make a donation in honor of CCCA's anniversary year, you can do so here.