Thursday, September 08, 2016

September and Childhood Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and each year we wear GOLD to support the cause. Thomas, my nephew, is a brain cancer survivor. He is now 14, but July 2011 tells a different story, a story of an unimaginable diagnosis but amazing recovery. A freshman in High School, he is active in Boy Scouts earning 15 badges this summer and nearing the rank of Eagle Scout. This summer he joined me and some folks from church on a mission trip to French Camp Academy in Mississippi. He sings with the High School Praise and Worship team at his school, does well academically, and is active in their drama productions. To God be the Glory!

During the difficult days and weeks of diagnosis, surgery, physical therapy, radiation treatments, and recovery, we kept a journal on Caring Bridge. Here is the link if you want to read some of the journal entries (just click here and choose JOURNAL). We love and trust a faithful God. In His choosing to heal Thomas, we can only believe He has even greater plans to come for Thomas' life. During this journey, many we met have not survived their cancer. With each loss comes questions, but we continue to trust an unchanging and loving God who sees a much bigger picture than we can see. This is a link to one journal entry - a time of celebration after a difficult season of treatments and therapy, a time of giving back, and a year of hoping for a complete cure! Happy 11th Birthday! 

Thomas' last MRI in May was clear. He can now reduce the number of scans to one time a year. On November 31, 2016, we will celebrate "5 Years Cancer Clear"! While there will not be a party with a 100 people, the 5th year will be no less of a celebration than the 1st year. Our hearts will be full of gratitude, and our praise will continue to offer glory to God. 

Each year in the U.S. there are an estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age who are diagnosed with cancer. Approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. Globally there are more than 250,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year. Every 3 minutes, somewhere in the world a family hears the devastating words that their child has been diagnosed with cancer. 
Here is a video of Thomas' journey with brain cancer and his heart's gratitude for healing!

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