By Alicia Hall - 11/13/07 08:20 PM EST
As representatives and senators debate, discuss and bargain about the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act, I’d like to step up as the parent of child with cancer — and welcome you to our world. Maybe, I’ll give you pause as you head into your next roundtable discussion.
When cancer comes home to any family, it’s devastating. When cancer alights on the tiny shoulder of a child — it’s the death of innocence. At the moment of introduction, your heart stops and is replaced by cement. My chest was so heavy, I didn’t think I was actually breathing. You hold your breath, and begin an incredible balancing act, like you are teetering on the edge of a bottomless cliff. You spend hours/days like that, hoping, praying ... In fact, it’s more than a prayer; it’s a soul wish — your very essence begs the universe for mercy.
Then suddenly, wham! — someone shoves you off the cliff. There is no going back. Your life, your dreams, your expectations for your family are gone. You free-fall and can’t imagine how you’ll ever survive.
Over time, you learn to survive the fall; you have to — you are still a parent, and your child is still your child. Children with cancer endure harsh radiation, ritual poisoning with chemotherapy, invasive surgeries and procedures and life-altering side effects. And yet, they are still children. Our children play. They laugh. But mostly, they teach us to embrace life and appreciate the value of a minute. They come with no guarantees — so we must learn to love them completely in each second we are given. We cannot know the quantity of time we are allotted.
Funding research for better cure rates and better cures isn’t just humane; it’s fiscally responsible. Heal our children completely, and with a gentler touch — and society will be the better for it.
My daughter was 17 months old when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. he endured 26 months of daily chemotherapy. She is now 4 and in remission. She is also brain-damaged — requiring a shunt to survive. She has lost some vision, is osteoporetic, and has an autoimmune disease from the chemo. She is also bubbly, happy, has giant brown eyes, lots of freckles, and is the joy of our lives. It’s up to you to decide if she’s worth supporting the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act. To us, she’s priceless.
Here’s the point: It’ll get worse
From William H. White
(Regarding article, “GOP turns impeachment resolution against Dems,” Nov. 7.) You end your report about the Cheney impeachment vote by quoting University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato as saying, “The term has got a year to run. What’s the point?”
The point is the Bush administration’s abuses of power will only worsen before the end of their term if left unchallenged.
East Dennis, Mass.