Kids aren’t supposed to endure this

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Before the door closes on National Childhood Cancer month, we reflect and recommend.

Reflect:

We’re thinking of a comment uttered far too often in the wake of tragedy: No parent should outlive her or his children.

And we remember a prominent former community member who lost a young son to cancer despite the child’s valiant fight and outstanding medical care. The parents’ marriage soon broke down, as many do under similar circumstances. It was nobody’s fault. A child’s death can kill the formerly healthy cells binding loving relationships.

We’re thinking too of a nurse whose career included several years working in a cancer unit. Although it was long ago, the pain and sorrow she endured at the loss of one particular young spirit evokes fresh waves of grief even now. Every loss can be profound, but when a child is sick for a long time before finally succumbing to death, no words exist to adequately express survivors’ feelings; no balm erases the pain.

Did you know that every day in the U.S., 43 children are diagnosed with cancer? The average age at diagnosis is 6.

Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of disease-related death for children. One in eight of the kids diagnosed with cancer will not reach adulthood.

Recommend:

Scores of charities address childhood cancer. Some of them are excellent and some of them are scams. Please use charitynavigator.org to look up any charity dedicated to finding cures for or treating childhood cancer patients.

While the quest for a cure continues, we suggest finding ways to help local children and their families dealing with childhood cancer. Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho and the Spokane-based Ronald McDonald House Charities — soon to partner with Kootenai Health locally — are two outstanding, nationally respected brands. Their focus isn’t entirely on childhood cancer, but your contribution will help some of the most vulnerable kids and their families through some of the darkest times imaginable.

Ronald McDonald House: rmhcinlandnw.org

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Idaho: idaho.wish.org

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