For most families across the country, September is notable as the first full month back at school. September marks the end of carefree summer days and a return to routine: Packing lunches. Rushing out the door. Homework before dinner. Bedtime battles.
But for those of us who know and love a child with cancer, September is most notable as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time to honor and celebrate our brave survivors, and it’s a time to remember our littlest, brightest stars who lost their lives far too soon but whose light shines on.
Stars like Owen.
Owen was diagnosed this past April with a form of brain cancer called PNET. He was just 18 months old.
Four months later, in August 2015, Owen passed away.
Owen didn’t get a chance to see his second September, or to celebrate his second birthday this fall. He’ll never have a first day of school, or fail a big test, or score a big goal.
This month, Owen humbles us. His mom reminds us: “September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Not that we will ever be less aware any other month… ever.”
Owen is one of 16,000 children diagnosed with cancer in the past year in the United States. He’s one of nearly 2,000 children who have died of cancer since last September.
For every star we’ve lost, for every star still fighting, and for the two classrooms of little stars who will be diagnosed today as you read this, we honor them this September by advocating for the Childhood Cancer STAR Act.
The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act of 2015
is a bipartisan bill introduced this summer. It’s sweeping childhood cancer legislation that includes provisions the Children’s Cause has championed for years and helped strengthen for this bill. We’re so proud of this legislation, which could mean real change for children with cancer. The STAR Act would enhance quality of life for childhood cancer survivors, improve childhood cancer surveillance through state registries, expand research opportunities, help families navigate compassionate use, and much more.
We’re working hard on Capitol Hill to educate Congressional staff about this important legislation and secure the support of more co-sponsors. Specifically this month, we’re looking forward to the 6th
Annual Childhood Cancer Summit
hosted by the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus. Children’s Cause is co-sponsoring a luncheon reception hosted by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer immediately following the Summit. This Capitol Hill activity, along with other awareness events like CureFest
, is our way of honoring Owen and lighting our little corner of the world gold for this Awareness Month.
We hope you’ll join us in action this September. Here are a few ways you can help:
· Read about Owen
, and share his story. Visit the Super Owen Facebook page
· Learn more
about the STAR Act.
· Write your Congressmen
to ask for their support.
· Join the coordinated community #StepUp campaign
to spread awareness through social media.