Today is International Children’s Day. I think of those children I met in the last two years, some passed and some are still fighting, newly diagnosed cases are coming up everyday. Globally, there are more than 250,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year and one is diagnosed every 3 minutes.
Yet in the wealthiest country, in the next budget allocations, the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute will AGAIN allocate only 4% to childhood cancer research. Despite the fact that more than 13,500 children diagnosed each year with cancer in this country, and more than 40,000 children undergoing cancer treatment each year, despite how loud childhood cancer advocates across the country shout out to save our children, our children, our precious children, will AGAIN only get 4% of the NCI budget.
Because the market is driven by profit. Cancer research funds are driven by the number of people who have the disease. The figures of childhood cancer are shocking, but adults’ are of course, higher. So NCI believes their allocation of federal money is “justified”.
Is it? Is it really?
Let me tell you how this is NOT justified!
Children are our future. The average age of death for a child with cancer is 8, causing a child to lose 70 years of expected life. Think about the lost potential. That child could have lived to grow up, get married and have children and grandchildren of their own. They potentially could have gone on to make something beautiful the world has never seen before and be an amazing contributor to society. But, they will never get the chance because of shortage of drugs for childhood cancer and the lack of research funding given by our government. NCI wants to use adults’ cancer statistics to justify themselves, should they look at the demographics of the US? Children make up 20% of our population, should they at least get 20% of the funding?
No, they still say NO. I can only give you 4%. Our children only deserves 4%.
Because of 4% , in the past 20 years only 3 drugs have been approved for pediatric use. By contrast, in one year (2012), 23 drugs were approved for use in adults. Because of 4%, there are about 900 adult cancer drugs in the developmental pipeline, and virtually none for children and because of 4%, children are dying.
Children’s death toll can’t be justified by Supply and Demand!
Ten years ago I came to the US, a place many people in my country call “heaven of children.” Children don’t get much homework. Classroom is fun. The whole society cares for and protect children. They are the priority. I believe I made the right decision, to leave the families in China, to pursuit my American dream.
I have never seen people be patriotic to their country as much as Americans are. I have never seen people feel so proud to be a citizen of their country as much as Americans do. I have never seen people can get emotional looking at their national flag the way as Americans do. I have never seen the outpouring of communities support as I witnessed in this country. I have never seen the passion of people toward fundraising efforts as much as I experienced in this country. I believe I made the right decision, to leave the families in China, to pursuit my American dream.
I still do.
My American dream is as simple as yours: to have car, kids, my own house, job. All these came true after 5 years. Yet I lost my child. The moment Joey took the last breath, all my American dreams were shattered. The whole world is as cold as his body. Nothing else matters. All I have is hatred, anger, bitterness, outrage… I hated it. I hated it so much. Why did I bring him across the world, but witness his dying here? Why his grandparents and great-grandparents didn’t have a chance to see him one last time?
Two weeks after he passed, I became an American citizen. I need to, in order to run a non-profit and vote. On the date of the naturalization, I saw other people swearing their allegiance to the USA and received their naturalization papers with emotional tears. They were hugging and celebrating. They were as proud as my American friends as they looked at the flag. Their American dream came true. But I was numb. I was an empty shell standing there, because that day was the date Joey was supposed to stand with me, the day was the date the whole family was supposed to be proud.
How can I find my lost American dream?
In the past six months, I feel the tremendous outpouring of love and support from the community. Our very first Joey’s Run is such a great success. Cranes for Cure gets donated cranes from people I never meet and our devoted volunteers make them into strings and mobiles and send to children who have chronic disease. Talbot elementary school continues to support my family and foundation and creates an amazing tribute to Joey. Childhood cancer is a cause closed to the hearts of many people.
Today I think of this video I saw at facebook. It’s from TV, but I think it is true.
How can a country be the greatest in the world if children is not the priority?
Six months after Joey passed, I found my lost dream.
Do you have one? If not, I want to invite you to join me, to join 13,500 families every year in this country, to be the voice for the children who have no voice.
You can share the statics of childhood cancer facts.
You can join the national campaign by liking TheTruth365, Smashing Walnuts, KIDS V CANCER
You can donate to an organization who support childhood cancer research, like St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.
You can mail your Senator how poor funding of childhood cancer research affects the entire childhood cancer community. http://4sqclobberscancer.com/on-capital-h…/…/mail-a-senator/
Or at least you can share a story of a child fighting cancer.