Help the Littlest Victims of Cancer

It's a horrible truth but, it's nearly impossible not to be touched by cancer. My dear friend Betsy lost her sister to ovarian cancer. My high school classmate and friend, Tobi, is battling melanoma. My former colleague and friend Emily Kate Warren was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. All of them are mothers of young children. And just yesterday my colleague Kara shared that the daughter of a family friend, 5-year-old Brooke Healey, just passed away after a fight with a rare form of cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). (You may remember Brooke's story; Kara blogged about her in June.)

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The cases of adults with cancer is traumatic enough -- but children with cancer ... well, there's no word for it. Devastating doesn't come close. Which is why I was especially horrified to learn that children's cancer is woefully under researched and underfunded. Pediatric Oncology only gets about 4% of the monies raised for the National Cancer Institute. There has not been a new drug developed for pediatric cancer in over 20 years yet incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% per the National Cancer Institute.

My friend Emily (the one I mention above) brought to my attention yet another little girl battling this horrible disease: Natalie Grace. (See her at right with her older sister, Hannah, 6). Natalie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when she was 3-years-old (three years old). As you can imagine, the diagnosis has turned her family upside down. And now Natalie's mother, Andrea Verdone, is on a mission to raise $50,000 for childhood cancer research by Natalie's fourth birthday -- September 28. Wouldn't you be on a mission too, if it was your child? Please consider giving. All of the proceeds will go directly to childhood cancer research through The Truth 365 Dream Team of leading pediatric oncologists nationwide. The Truth 365 is an initiative of the Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation and donations are tax-deductible.

To date, Natalie's mom has raised $35,000. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I hope you'll consider helping Natalie's mom reach her goal by sharing her story and this cause.

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