When Childhood Cancer Hits Close to Home: Our Friend Stefan’s Journey
posted by: Amber Johnson
There are very few families that go unscathed from cancer’s ravages. When my husband was in his late-20s, he was diagnosed and underwent chemotherapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma. Since that time, we’ve had grandparents, uncles and aunts battle cancer but never have we had a childhood friend diagnosed…until now.
Did you know that childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children under the age of 15 in the United States? September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year, a diagnosis that turns the lives of the entire family upside down.
My 9-year-old son’s friend Stefan returned to school like any other fourth grader. He’d had a summer crammed with travels, adventures and camps with his twin brother, Ian. Their mom Cindy had just purchased a new home and they had recently moved in. They were living a fun-loving and enviable life…until every parent’s worst nightmare happened: Stefan was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
I have been inspired by this wonderful family’s positive attitude. Cindy started a private Facebook group for friends and family to follow Stefan’s journey and with her permission, I am sharing part of their experience.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Stefan and his family. The objective of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is to put a spotlight on the types of cancer that largely affect children, survivorship issues, and – importantly – to help raise funds for research and family support. Go to the American Childhood Cancer Organization for more information on how you can help.