On December 12, 2008, our three year old son was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and our lives changed forever. Since that day, I have served as his advocate and a voice for families impacted by childhood cancer. In the U.S. 46 children are diagnosed each weekday.
Our son survived, but the treatment he endured and the potential long-term side effects on his overall health are disheartening. He was treated with chemotherapy agents developed 30 years ago for use in adult patients. Currently, all forms of childhood cancer receive less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) entire budget. Foundations and other charitable groups are filling in this funding gap.
On September 21, 2011, at Union Station in Washington DC, I shaved my head to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer research. I was part of the 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave Campaign. All of the money we raise supports the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds more childhood cancer research than any other private foundation.
After the shave, we took our cause to The Hill and met with our representatives to ask for more funding and legislation for childhood cancer research, specifically the Creating Hope Act. We also participated in the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus. It was a life-affirming and life-altering experience.
In 2012, I served as a member of the Mommas Leadership Planning team. As the Membership Recruitment Chair, I recruited women from across the United States and Canada to join our head-shaving event. I shaved again as a Legacy Momma.
Our son served as one of five 2013 Ambassadors for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. We’re honored that he is the first “Rhabdo” kid represented and grateful for the opportunity to bring awareness to this disease. Sarcomas are aggressive and as a result most children are metastatic (stage three or four) at diagnosis. This makes the five year survival rate and long-term prognosis very low.
During 2013, we were invited speakers at several events throughout the Midwest. Our family was featured in a three-part awareness series on WLNS TV 6 Lansing for their February sweeps. The third segment included two live on-air interviews.
When you choose your philanthropy, I hope you will choose to support childhood cancer research. From 2011-2014, I served as the Momma behind @46Mommas. I can be contacted for social, video, or print media requests. I would love to share our story with you and demonstrate how your involvement can make a difference in the life of a child with cancer. To hire me to speak at your event, use the form below. Thank you!