Once upon a time, there was a 12-year old girl from Jersey. She could be my daughter, she could be your daughter. She played on her travel softball team and during the last playoff game in October, she slid into third base and landed on her left knee. She and her parents shrugged it off, until two months later when the knee was still bothering her. A visit to the doctor eventually lead to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. The diagnosis: osteosarcoma, a cancerous tumor on the top of her left tibia. She’s been in chemotherapy ever since. Oh, and one thing: she’s determined to Kick Cancer’s Butt!
This young lady’s name is Sydney Becker and in addition to dealing with the cancer and trying to keep up her normal life, she’s blogging about her challenge. Check out her blog on Caring Bridge. She’s incredibly candid about what she’s going through, especially since her dad told me that she’s often writing between treatments and their aftereffects. She pulls no punches when she describes throwing up six times as a result of the medications. And if you look at the pictures on the site, she even gets silly when she has to don different wigs as a result of losing her hair. The whole experience of blogging seems to be cathartic to her and presents the opportunity to share her feelings and condition with family and friends in a way she could not have before the blessing of technology. “There are people who write back to her who post who we’ve never met and who we’ll never meet,” her dad said.
As I said, this kid could belong to any of us. According to the Cure Kids’ Cancer Foundation, which raises funds for research into pediatric cancer, as well as promoting awareness of the disease:
– Approximately 13,000 kids in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year
– Less than three percent of federal cancer research funding goes to pediatric cancer
– A child in the U.S. has a one in 320 chance of being diagnosed with the disease
– Cancer is the leading disease killer of children under the age of 21
Sydney is on the Foundation’s junior advisory board. She’s also working with the Foundation to raise awareness about pediatric cancer.
I don’t think I’d be rallying an iota as much as Sydney and her family if she were my kid. I freak over every little boo-boo and fever. I can’t imagine what they’re going through or HOW they get through it. But they have no choice.
Incredibly, when they found out about Sydney’s cancer, the family formed “Team Sydney” and had shirts printed up. On the back it says “Kickin’ Cancer’s Butt” with a logo designed by Sydney. They started selling the shirts and two weeks ago, friends told them they wanted to do even more for Sydney.
They’re holding a fundraiser, “Strike Out Pediatric Cancer,” on Sunday, April 3rd, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Livingston Oval in Livingston, NJ. It will include a “Home Run Derby” for kids from kindergarten age through 12th grade, a two mile fun run/spring walk around the Oval, face painting and temporary tattoos, a DJ and music provided by Unique Musique (who will be performing at Sydney’s bat mitzvah in a few months), with food and drinks for sale. Registration for the softball and run/walk will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the events are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Proceeds from the afternoon will be donated to the Make Some Noise: Cure Kids’ Cancer Foundation.
Talk about reprioritizing your life. Makes me hug my kids just a little tighter, appreciate the sound of their voices (even when they’re fighting), and thank the heavens for “loaning” them to me until they grow up. I think it was Harry Harrison, one of the DJs, on WCBS radio who used to say “life should be unwrapped like a precious gift.” That’s something to remember each and every day.
This is an original blog post for Jersey Moms Blog by MomsCrayon, a New Jersey mom.
Photo of Syndey Becker on Caring Bridge.