Friday, March 1, 2013

Donna Day

Cancer.

It's something that has invaded my life and changed it irreversibly more than once, and I'm not alone.  It's taken my family, it's taken my friends.

In other ways, it's connected me to some of the most amazing people in the world.

My dear friend, Mary Tyler Mom reached out to me last week, along with several other bloggers.

She asked for help.  When she asks for help, she gets it.

Within a few days of her asking, I decided to make this personal.  I last cut my hair in 2010, when my father was alive and fighting like hell still.  I cut off 10 inches back then and donated it in his honor.  Since his death two years ago, I haven't been able to bring myself to cut it.

I have a lot of hair at the moment.
I know now that I wasn't just struggling with an emotional attachment to my Dad.  I was waiting.

I was waiting for today.

Later this morning, I will cut off a foot of my own hair in the hopes that my gesture will urge you all to give to this amazing cause, St. Baldrick's.  

Please give whatever you can.

The woman who will be cutting my hair this time was the one who cut it last when I donated it.  She's also the one who donated her time to shave heads for me last year when I organized a fundraiser for a little boy fighting cancer here.  Her name is Devonie, and if you're on the Front Range, give her a call.  She is amazing.


I do this today in support of Donna, and as a sign of my dedication to the cause. I am hoping that I'll inspire others to contribute money by doing this, and will post pictures when it's done.  

I will be donating the hair to Children With Hair Loss, an organization that provides wigs and hairpieces to children with medically caused hair loss free of charge. 


When I mentioned that we were coming together as writers, as parents, as friends, to help her celebrate Donna's Day and to raise money for children's cancer research, several others bloggers asked if they could join in as well.

The internet is alive with this love and support today, all for MTM and her beautiful girl, Donna.

Donna.
Mary Tyler Mom lost that beautiful girl to cancer in 2009, and if you haven't read the story, I urge you to do so.  She chronicled the entire journey, sharing the reality of this disease with the world, and the stories were featured on the Huffington Post.  You can find her story here.


The goal of Donna Day is to raise money for St. Baldrick's, an organization that funds childhood cancer research.  The charity that Mary Tyler Mom started in her daughter's memory, Donna's Good Things, is sponsoring a head shaving event in Chicago on March 30th.

The team page has a link to donate directly, and you can find it here.

The statistics on childhood cancers are sobering, even more so when you realize how poorly funded the research on them is currently.

  • More US children will die from cancer than any other disease, or many other diseases combined;
  • Before the age of 20, 1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls will be diagnosed with cancer;
  • worldwide, a child is diagnosed ever three minutes;
  • the cure rate for the most common form of pediatric cancer, ALL leukemia, is as high as 90%, but most other childhood cancers do not have that success rate, e.g., brain tumors have a 50/50 cure rate, and some, like DIPG, are known to be fatal with no known treatment or cure;
  • 73% of kids who survive their cancer will have chronic health problems as a result of their treatment and 42% will suffer severe or life-threatening conditions like secondary cancers.  
Childhood cancer research is woefully underfunded, amounting to only 4% of the National Cancer Institute funding.  Some organizations like the American Cancer Society spend less than 1% on children's cancers.  

We've made huge strides in treating breast cancer and many other adult cancers.  The FDA approves new cancer drugs all the time, but only one new cancer treatment drug has been approved for use in children in the last 30 years.

One.

St. Baldrick's raises money exclusively for childhood cancer research, and the goal this year is to raise $30,000.  

Last year, the goal for Donna's Day was $20,000 and more than $79,000 was raised!  Let's see if we can do better this time around!  Even donations of $5 and $10 add up quickly if we can spread the word enough.  

Again, please consider giving any amount you can, even if it's only $5 to St.Baldrick's.  

One child with cancer is one too many.  

Let's do this thing!

12 comments:

  1. I have a friend who lost his little boy to cancer in '09. He was a St. Jude patient, so I normally donate there, but I realize that St. Jude, being a research hospital, can only take on patients that fit certain requirements. Today, I'll donate to St. Baldrick's. Bloggers Beating Cancer. Heck yes!

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  2. Thank you for helping with this, Kelly! xo

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  3. Brian's mom is battling cancer right now. It's the hardest thing in the world to watch this unbelievable strong woman at her weakest, fighting for her life.

    Thank you for being an inspiration, Kelly. You are an amazing person.

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  4. Okay no but seriously.
    YOU. ARE. THE. BEST.

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  5. Well-written, informative post, Kelly! I love that you included Donna's Storysong. Lots of love to you! xoxo

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  6. You are beautiful. You're heart is even bigger and more beautiful! Thanks for being an inspiration.

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  7. Love you. And your new haircut looks beautiful.

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  8. Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. That video was so sad, and yet hopeful. I am definitely going to help. For beautiful little Donna. hugs.

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  9. every time I think I can not possibly love you more~ you prove me wrong. Much love and a deep and abiding respect for you my friend.

    love and light,
    Ginger

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  10. A friend lost their young child to cancer and I think what you're doing is wonderful.

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