Monday, September 15, 2014

Go Gold

September is childhood cancer awareness month.

I know this kid. Actually I don’t really know him. I used to know him. Not quite though. I had never met him. I hadn’t met his parents either. We were on a common e-group. He was 7. I saw his pictures. I read his story. He was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) last June. DIPG affects the pons portion of the brainstem, which makes nervous system function impossible. It is one of the most resistant of all cancers to chemotherapy treatments. Most patients will die within a year of detection. It primarily affects children. There is no cure. It is even said that a cure for DIPG will result in a cure for almost any type of cancer. So, I read his story. Even though I had never met him or his family, I was a part of that journey in a very tiny way. I followed him. This kid loved planes. He wanted to be a pilot when he grew up. He fought a very brave fight. I didn’t witness most of it. Only the snippets his parents shared. Every word, every sentence, every emotion, every feeling shakes you from the inside.

That’s the thing about little people. I try not to use the word “God” a lot in my writing. But I will use it today. They are God’s creation. If God could ever be proud, it should be on his creation of this thing called childhood. Children are innocent, forgiving, kind, and generous. We are born with these qualities. Each one of us. Some of just retain it more than the others. But the kids have it all. I am so jealous. So when something as disgusting as cancer happens to a kid, then all you want to do is throw something heavy across the room or scream out loud. Neither of those will make you feel better. But it will reduce the energy inside you to think or act negatively. And if God could ever feel sorry, it should be on allowing this thing called childhood cancer. Little people must not be hurt. Ever. Didn’t he understand that? I don’t know at what point a child stops being a child and starts being an adult. But children are too innocent to be hurt in such a way. I am all for learning as you grow and making mistakes and learning from them. But this is not required.

But that’s not the point. The point is that watching your child hurt is one of the worst punishments for any parent. Watching your child go through cancer is worse than the worst punishment.
When someone talks about funding for the cause I don’t hesitate to act first and think later. I don’t go about weighing the statistics for the leading cause of deaths in a country. It doesn’t matter. I don’t even go about listing the illnesses that have impacted me directly\indirectly either. It doesn’t matter. The point is that when a kid gets sick, all the idioms and axioms are rendered useless. So if I can donate for the cause, I do. And that is how we get 1 step closer at a time. To treating cancer. To eradicating this monster.

One of the things I remind myself not to do on hearing about a cancer diagnosis is to thank God for making sure that our kids are healthy and happy. And it is not because I am not thankful to God. But it is because I don’t want to make someone else’s sadness a point of solace for me. I don’t want to think about my luck and my stars when someone else seems so hurt. I never say something thankful when I see something bad happen to someone else. While I believe in counting ones blessings, I don’t think a cancer diagnosis fits under the timeline for the same. I try to just be in the moment. Think of the child\kid diagnosed with cancer. What is it that can be done to help? Be there. Say something. Don’t say anything. Just be there.

So, be kind. Be nice. Everyone is having a bad day, at some point or the other. Everyone is struggling with something. Everyone is hurting from a loss. It happens. So give people the benefit of doubt. Be nice. 

And you know what, he didn’t have cancer until the day he did. So fight cancer with all our might. Go Gold this month. At least in your heart.

1 comment:

Trapti said...

I totally agree when you say that nothing hurts more than seeing a child go through suffering that are so undue. I wish there was a reason for everything, why it happened, why not ... unfortunately thought there isn't. Very well written and aptly relevant. If we can bring up children to be compassionate and empathetic towards those around them, we are doing good for the society for sure.