Gadsden promotes child cancer awareness

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By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

“The worst thing that a parent or grandparent can hear is that their child has cancer,” said Judy Atkins. 

Sadly, she would know. Her granddaughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was only 4 years old. After months of struggle, a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy, she was in remission. 

Unfortunately, 15 months later she had a recurrence. Eight years ago, Hannah’s parents were told that she had a year to a year and a half left. 

Somehow, the chemotherapy has been able to control the growth of the cancer for much longer than the doctors predicted. At only 14, she is already a promising chef, with one of her dressing recipes used in an upscale Chicago restaurant as the house dressing.

According to Atkins, cancer research has made great leaps in treatment options, but few were developed for the children fighting the disease. 

On average, 42 children are diagnosed with cancer. One in eight of them will not survive. In fact, cancer is the leading disease that kills children. 

Only two medications in the last 20 years have been made specifically for children fighting cancer.

To promote the fact that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, shops around Gadsden have been displaying yellow and gold ribbons. 

Frios is donating some of the proceeds of its yellow-colored ice pops to CURE Childhood Cancer. The Coffee Well is donating the coins in the wishing well to CURE. 

Started in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is one of the few cancer research non-profits that donate money solely to research for children’s cancer. It is based out of Atlanta. 

The charity recently announced that $2.5 million will be funded to grants in research and fellowships in 2014-2015. 

CURE has a number of upcoming fundraisers planned for the month of September to raise awareness and research money.

For more information on childhood cancer, fundraisers or to donate, visit www.childhoodcancer.org. 

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