Someday, I Want Parents To Hear These Words After They're Told Their Child Has Cancer

With pablove and gratitude.

Dear Friend,

This is the week. The kickoff of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

In my life here at The Pablove Foundation, September is a big month. We talk about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month all year. Ideas are constantly being passed around. All of us at Pablove want our contribution to the CCAM spotlight to be bigger and brighter. We feel passionately that we need to bring a sharper focus to the increasing significance of childhood cancer and give equal light to the joy that we see in our Pablove community. There's plenty of that to show the world.

It feels like there is no coincidence that Childhood Cancer Awareness Month also falls at back-to-school time.  All eyes are on kids — preparing them for a safe, fun, and enlightening school year. Any parent who's sent a child off to the first day of school knows that indescribable feeling of joy, hope, and possibility that goes with it...

The first day of school butterflies are a bit different for us moms and dads who've lost a child... Of course, we share the joy and excitement for our friends' children. But, even as we feel that joy, our thoughts naturally drift to the memories of our lost child. That's where the emotions change. It's somewhere between bittersweet and an overwhelming sense of loss you feel for yourself, your partner, your surviving children, your parents... your entire community.

This morning, I was struck with one such episode. Three of my son Pablo's now teenage friends... it's their first day of school. I had to stop and think. Sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth? God, I don't even know and I can't bring myself to do the math.  All I know is that my darling Sweet P didn't make it to first grade. Pablo is gone and now a big part of my life is dedicated to helping other children and their families in his honor here at Pablove.

Jeff, Jo Ann, Pablo and Grady at Grady’s 8th grade Graduation.  May, 2008
Jeff, Jo Ann, Pablo and Grady at Grady's 8th grade Graduation.  May, 2008

We are not the only family who has experienced this grief... not by a longshot. In fact, just two weeks ago, a friend of mine in the Pablove community lost her child, Hannah, to cancer. I know her feeling of loss all too well. Hannah's death is a reminder that we must continue to turn our hearts inward. We must continue to help one another. Each child whose life is saved or substantially lengthened is a big win for that family, that community, and society.

So, this year, I have one request of you as you celebrate the new school year for your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews... think about my Sweet P. Think about Hannah. Think about Tuesday, Sicily, Meghan, Jake, Stella, Parker, every child whose parents now live without them... and support Pablove in their honor.

We will be kicking off our Childhood Cancer Awareness Month campaign and asking you to Go Steady With Pablove Thursday, September 1.  Follow along on Facebook and Instagram as we share 30 compelling reasons and stories about WHY you should sign up to go the distance with us. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to fund one Childhood Cancer Research Seed Grant.  

We know you love us. We love you too — with all our hearts.

So "Let's Go Steady!" Your commitment to The Kindhearted monthly giving circle will mean more scientists looking for a cure for childhood cancers, and more kids finding joy with cameras in their hands. 

Our hope is that one day, when a parent hears,"Your child has cancer" they will also hear, "And we have a cure for that!"

With pablove, and gratitude,

Jo Ann Thrailkill
President and CEO of The Pablove Foundation

A Plus is proud to announce that we are partnering with The Pablove Foundation during September, and that we'll be releasing stories featuring Pablove and its work throughout the month. Their mission? To fight childhood cancer with love. 

Support Pablove and childhood cancer research by "going steady" and giving monthly. Learn more about the campaign and the cause here.

Watch the campaign kickoff video below: