You don't care about childhood cancer.
That's right. I said it. You. Don't. Care.
You care about your friends, your family, maybe even your dog.
But you don't care about cancer.
If we've learned anything this year, it's that people give to people, not causes.
It's also why we decided to debut the #50States50Days campaign. Since we launched Forever We in September 2014, we've been telling the story of childhood cancer and urging people to give to that valiant cause. It's a great cause and one we're thrilled to support. But we know that you don't really care about cancer.
You care about KIDS who just happen to have cancer.
More importantly, you care about Mary Elizabeth and Auvianna and Damian and Joy and Eden.
When we posted their pictures and snippets of their stories, your chest tightened. It was an unfamiliar tension. Their stories tugged at your heartstrings or triggered a memory. In an instant, you went from being blissfully oblivious to being painfully aware of something that should not be. Eventually your growing empathy trumped your steadfast logic. Not only did you realize that you should make a difference, you also realized that you could make a difference.
The statistics are overwhelming. This year, nearly 16,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer. There's another 45,000 kids who are in treatment annually. Not to mention the millions of siblings, neighbors, classmates, and friends who are affected by a cancer diagnosis in a myriad other ways. Just 4% of the National Cancer Institute's budget is directed toward childhood cancers. Only 2% of American Cancer Society monies fund childhood cancers, and Relay for Life (one of our elementary school's premier philanthropies) gives back just 1% of their budget to childhood cancer research.
We believe that kids who care can help kids with cancer.
We believe people need a place of community.
We believe parents care about creating purpose and meaning, not only for themselves, but also for their families.
We believe everyone wants to make a difference.
You may be wondering why someone who doesn't have a child who has cancer would care so much about someone who does. Well, let me tell you. Five years ago, my friend,Tami's daughter was diagnosed with a rare ovarian germ cell tumor. Prior to that day in July 2010, I didn't know anyone with a child with cancer. It rocked my world. How could I help? What could I do? She was helpless to cure her child, and I was helpless to help her.
Five years later Tami is one of the most outspoken childhood cancer funding advocates I know. She has introduced me to many more families; some of them have had to say goodbye to their children way too soon. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've said to her on more than one occasion: "Stop telling me these sad stories! I can't stand it!"
But the reality is that the sad stories are what inspired Forever We. With the message "WE ARE WITH YOU" we have successfully connected kids who care and kids with cancer. We partner with CURE Childhood Cancer to deliver dolls to hospitals across Georgia and the generous donations of individuals like you make sure that kids all over the United States know that someone cares about them and wants to help.
If you are a part of the Forever We community, THANK YOU. If you're not, would you please take a moment and consider how you might partner with us? We have lots of ways to get involved, and we'd love to talk to you more about it.
Every good movement starts with a conversation.