by Anna McFall
Earlier this month, Gov. Robert Bentley signed a proclamation recognizing Alabama as a state that supports the national campaign for childhood cancer awareness.
According to the American Cancer Society, childhood cancer is the second leading cause of death for children under 15 years old and the most frequent cause of childhood death by disease. The most common forms of childhood cancer are leukemia, brain cancer and cancer of the central nervous system.
Research conducted by the American Cancer Society indicates that the disease is expected to take the lives of 1,340 American children in 2012. Treatment for pediatric cancer could involve chemotherapy, radiation treatment or bone marrow transplants for certain types.
Members of the community were encouraged to wear gold on Wednesday to show their support in the battle against childhood cancer and to support those families within our own community who are currently in some stage of overcoming this disease.
One childhood cancer survivor from Trussville recently celebrated a very special day. “September 11, 2012 is my 14 year remission date,” Bekah Freeman said.
In September of 1997, Freeman was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. She was 12 years old at the time. “I spent weeks at a time in a hospital room receiving chemotherapy,” she said. “I did not play outside
. I spent my days at home or in the hospital.”
After many treatment sessions, surgeries and sick days, 26-year-old Freeman has been fighting a hard battle for many years. “The thing about childhood cancer is this: it never ends,” Freeman said. “Sure, I may be in remission. But I still fight it.”
Although the causes of childhood cancer are largely unknown, Leukemia and cancers of the brain and central nervous system account for more than half of childhood cancer types. “We owe it to every child and every family to become aware and find a cure,” Freeman said. “I am one of the lucky ones… I’ve known too many who haven’t been so lucky and September, to me, is all about them. I spread awareness for them and for the all of the kids diagnosed tomorrow. I wear my gold ribbon with pride.”
Anna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org