*This post was written by Marta Reisinger, local mom and special needs advocate extraordinaire.
Sunday, September 14th was the home opener of the New York Giants. It was warm with a nice breeze and the smell of tailgating was in the air. It was also the game where the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation was increasing awareness about Childhood Cancer through its #GoGold Initiative. September is the national Childhood Cancer Awareness month and like any family that has been affected by this life changing diagnosis, we want to create awareness.
My husband, children and I were invited along with 13 other families to partake in the awareness event, but to also enjoy a day out as a family in the Giants’ Legacy suite. We received VIP treatment and even met, former Giants players, Lawrence “LT” Taylor and Tiki Barber. We were chosen, because my son, Paulie, is a survivor of a cancerous brain tumor called epedymoma. After spending eight and a half months in two hospitals, while enduring three brain surgeries, chemotherapy, proton radiation and countless procedures, he has been cancer free for over three years.
There is not a day that I am not grateful for his survival and the fight that he has in him. I want to see Paulie’s personal growth and progress, in what he lost or never had a chance to learn. He was only 14 months old at diagnosis. What I wish is that no other family is affected by childhood cancer. Foundations like the Jay Fund are taking steps creating awareness and raising funds for families, but it cannot end there. During the Giants game, we wore Jay Fund T-shirts, Coach Tom Coughlin along with one other coach wore a gold ribbon to show their support. The families that attended were featured on the Jumbotron inside the stadium, but unfortunately the people at home didn’t have a chance to see it all. The recognition isn’t mainstream, but the fighters, survivors and angels need a voice.
What I never knew, until my son’s diagnosis, is that funds allocated for childhood cancer research are roughly only 4% of what adults receive, according to the National Institute of Health’s breakdown. This isn’t enough. The treatments are not created for children, but rather borrowed from the adult world, with life long side effects. And those are for the survivors. There are many that only reach angel status. Childhood Cancer Awareness month has ended but, I hope you remember that kids get cancer too, that you support the cause by showing your gold ribbons, and supporting organizations, like the Jay Fund, which are creating awareness and helping families in need.
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