As parents we understand a love too deep for words to capture;
a love so immense, it physically hurts sometimes. We know what it feels like to forget about our own fears to protect our children. But every year, thousands of children face a battle that their parents cannot fight for them.
“I vowed, as all fathers do, to protect my child at all costs and I was not able to. I tried so hard and fought with so much hope and it just was not enough. I am not one who accepts failure and will keep getting up, trying again and again, harder each time. But how I get up from this loss and continue to fight I do not know. What am I fighting for when I have already lost what is unimaginable and immeasurable?” These are the words of Larry Witt in a letter to his son Liam who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 6 years old.
Pediatric cancer is the most common cause of death by disease for children and adolescents in the United States. According to The America Childhood Cancer Organization, approximately 13,400 children between the ages of birth and 19 years old are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year.
Like so many other children, little Liam was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer of the nervous system, on February 26th, 2007. For the next four years, Liam’s parents helplessly watched their son endure surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and antibody treatments in the fight for his life.
On her website CookiesForKidsCancer.org, Liam’s mom, Gretchen, writes: “On this odyssey, we have learned that pediatric cancer robs families of more children than any other disease. We learned about the vast disparity between funding for pediatric cancer and other cancers. We learned of the lack of interest on the part of pharmaceutical companies to invest research and development dollars in treatments and cures. And after we learned all of these shocking facts, we decided to do something about it.”
Cookies For Kids Cancer is a non-profit organization created by Liam’s parents dedicated to funding the development of new and better treatments. Gretchen and Larry got to work after finding that all types of pediatric cancers collectively receive less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s multi-billion dollar budget. With the help of 250 volunteers, Gretchen baked and sold 96,000 cookies in her first larger-than-life bake sale raising over $400,000 for pediatric cancer research. Through their bake sales and events, CFKC has raised over $6 million in just over four years.
An extension of the movement and a book for those inspired to hold their own bake sales, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer: All the Good Cookies, is a cookbook/manual/inspirational guide-hybrid that includes everything from delicious cookie recipes, clever packaging points and hosting tips, to 50-PLUS bake-sale success stories and creative ideas that reach beyond baking to a ladies-night-out-with-a-cause or a carwash. All author proceeds from the book go directly to CFKC.
First Vaccine to Help Control Some Autism Symptoms A first-ever vaccine created by University of Guelph researchers for gut bacteria common in autistic children may also help control some autism symptoms. (viaScience Daily)
CPS Student Boycott: High Schoolers Skip Required State Exam To Protest School Closures On a day they were slated to take a state-required test that directly affects their graduation eligibility, around 100 Chicago Public School students boycotted exams to protest the district’s plan to close 54 schools.(viaHuffington Post)
Sugary drinks can raise diabetes risk by 22 percent: study Drinking just one can of sugar-laced soda drink a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by more than a fifth, according to a large European study published on Wednesday.(viaReuters)
Fourth Grader’s Gay Marriage Essay Goes Viral A fourth grader’s poignant plea for gay marriage is making the blogosphere rounds.(viaHuffington Post)
Shire settles with Actavis, Watson Pharma on ADHD drug Drugmaker Shire Plc said it settled all litigation with Actavis Inc and Watson Pharma, allowing the two companies to sell a generic version of Shire’s drug, Intuniv, to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.(viaReuters)
Lullabies and other music may help sick preemies
Singing or playing womb-like sounds in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may help slow the heart rate and improve sleep and eating patterns of premature babies, a new study suggests. (via Reuters)
Children, Ages 5 And 7, Drown In L.I. Pool
A 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl drowned Sunday afternoon in a backyard pool in Suffolk County. (via CBS News)
Education Reform: Starting at the Beginning
School officials in Atlanta have been accused of racketeering for cheating on tests in order to gain bonus pay and status for their schools. (via Huffington Post)
Sexist ‘Avengers’ T Shirts Tell Boys To Be Heroes And Girls To Need A Hero
Marvel, the comic book publisher, is now contributing to the boys are strong/girls are weak dichotomy with two t-shirts based on the popular “Avengers” franchise. (via Huffington Post)
People, networks may sway parents’ vaccine choices
The people and information sources parents surround themselves with may influence their choice to vaccinate their children or not, according to a survey from one county in Washington state. via Reuters
Woman sues Ohio clinic over failed abortion after delivering healthy ‘miracle’ baby
An Ohio woman is suing an abortion clinic after she says she made the painful decision to terminate her pregnancy because her life was in danger, only to discover she was still pregnant after the procedure. (via Fox News)
Indiana Bill Would Require Armed Guards In Schools
The National Rifle Association on Tuesday released its long-awaited “National School Shield Report,” a lengthy document that recommends that schools arm and train staff members who want to carry guns. (via Huffington Post)
Drinking, drugs more common for kids of deployed
Teens and preteens with a parent deployed in the military may be more likely to binge drink or misuse prescription drugs, according to a new study. (via Yahoo News)
Parents jailed for deaths of 6 children in UK fire
A judge has sentenced the father of six British children who died in a house fire to life, with a minimum of 15 years in prison, describing him as the “driving force” behind setting the blaze. (via Fox News)
Department of Education announces that 20 new schools will open in the Bronx next fall
Bronx high schoolers can prepare for careers in health care and software design at two new schools set to open in September. (via NY Daily News)
Police believe couple abducted their children from grandmother
Police believe a Louisiana man abducted his two young sons early Wednesday after breaking into the Florida home of the children’s grandmother and tying her up. (via CNN)
CDC: 105 Children Died During Flu Season in US
Health officials say the flu season is winding down, and it has killed 105 children — about the average toll. The flu season started earlier than usual and ended up being moderately severe. (via FOX News)
Babies Shouldn’t Get Solid Foods Until 6 Months Old
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found many mothers are feeding babies solid foods earlier than the recommended age of six months, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (via FOX News)
Kids Who Exercise Are Less Likely to Have Fractures in Old Age
It turns out that strengthening bone to avoid fractures starts at a very young age.
Physical activity, such as the exercise children get in school gym classes, is important for fighting obesity, but the latest research suggests it may help to keep bones strong as well. (via TIME)
Celebrity Endorsers May Impact How Much Kids Eat
Celebrities who endorse specific foods in TV commercials are a powerful influence on children, and that effect may extend beyond the advertisement itself, according to a new study from the UK.(via Reuters)
Some Schools Urge Students to Bring Their Own Technology
Educators and policy makers continue to debate whether computers are a good teaching tool. But a growing number of schools are adopting a new, even more controversial approach: asking students to bring their own smartphones, tablets, laptops and even their video game players to class. (via The New York Times)
Study: Childhood ADHD May Lead to Troubles Later On
Nearly a third of people diagnosed as children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) still have the condition in adulthood, according to a large new study that also found they’re more likely to develop other mental disorders and to commit suicide. (via Reuters)
K-12 Student Database Jazzes Tech Startups, Spooks Parents
An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares. (via Reuters)
U.S. Baby’s HIV Infection Cured Through Very Early Treatment
A baby girl in Mississippi who was born with HIV has been cured after very early treatment with standard HIV drugs, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday, in a potentially ground-breaking case that could offer insights on how to eradicate HIV infection in its youngest victims. (via Reuters)
Rewards Get Kids Active, But Don’t Improve Health
Children will meet activity goals to earn rewards, but the extra effort doesn’t necessarily affect their weight and health, according to a new study. (via FOX News)
Los Angeles Board Race Attracts National Attention and Money
On Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles will go to the polls for a mayoral primary. But much of the attention will also be on the three races for the school board, a battle that involves the mayor, the teachers’ union and a host of advocates from across the country — including New York City’s billionaire mayor — who have poured millions of dollars into the races. (via New York Times)
When I was growing up, afterschool was for Skittles, Doritos, and 25-cent juices. When my daughter gets home from school, she pulls the bag of baby carrots out of the fridge and chomps away happily. Times have definitely changed.
If my mother offered carrots as an after school snack, I would have thought that I was being punished. Maybe that’s because she didn’t have as much support as I do. Lucky for me, our First Lady launched the Let’s Move initiative on February 9, 2010, when my daughter was only two years old. That means that I haven’t been the only one introducing her to healthy foods and exercise.
Over the past three years, Let’s Move has inspired schools, childcare providers, and business leaders to improve the health of our nation’s children.
As of January of 2013, more than 10,000 child-care professionals and organizations have registered to implement new criteria for nutrition, physical activity, and limited screen time.
Through Chefs Move to School, 2,400 chefs and nearly 4,000 schools have signed up to work together, teaching kids about healthy eating and helping cafeteria staff prepare healthier meals.
The American Beverage Association has also stepped up and fulfilled their commitment to put clear calorie labels on the front of their products to give consumers better information.
Now, in celebration of Let’s Move’s 3rd anniversary, Michelle Obama has teamed up with Sesame Street’s Big Bird to film two public service announcements encouraging kids to eat healthy and get active.
The new PSAs feature Mrs. Obama and Big Bird in the White House showing kids how easy and delicious it is to eat healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables and demonstrating fun ways to get active like dancing and jumping. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, will distribute these PSAs to 320 PBS Stations, Sesame Workshop’s partner channels as part of their Healthy Habits for Life Initiative. The PSAs are also posted on the Sesame Street and Let’s Move! websites.
You can also check out our new story, “Active Learners,” which explains just how physical education classes—which are in danger of being cut from many schools—help children perform better academically.
Big news, you guys. You know that delicious bowl (or, um, sometimes pseudo-bucket) of olive oil they give you at every Italian restaurant? The one you sometimes feel a little guilty about sopping up with tons of gorgeously crusty bread? Well, scientists have just proven that indulging in a bit of olive oil as part of a Mediterranean diet can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease. And? It’s a smart diet to borrow from during pregnancy—minus the recommended glasses of vino, of course!
Along with a focus on olive oil, the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet studied included servings of fish every week (make sure it’s not a high mercury fish!), including plenty of nuts and legumes, and avoiding processed meats and snacks. No calorie counting. No cardboard-tasting diet foods. Just a delicious “diet” that can save your life.
The really cool thing is that the Mediterranean diet has extra health benefits for pregnant women and their babes-to-be: olive oil (and the olives it comes from), fish, and legumes all contain healthy fatty acids, which are vital in developing your baby’s nervous system—including her brain. Add in a bunch of fruits and veggies for balance, and you’ve got yourself a smart and scrumptious pregnancy feast!