Childhood cancer is ugly. 

No parent should have to hear the words ‘your child has cancer’. And yet, those words are spoken throughout the world every day. More than 17,000 children are diagnosed annually with cancer in the United States. Globally, it is estimated that 400,000+ new cases of cancer affect children each year.

Survival outcomes have improved from the 1970s, when five years after diagnosis, less than 60% of children survived. Presently, across all pediatric cancers, the 5-year survival rate for pediatric cancer has risen to 84%. However, this number includes some cancers where survivorship hovers around 1%. Any number less than 100% is unacceptable. No parent should have to bury their child. Until this changes, I continue to raise funds on behalf of The Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc. (CCF).

When I first started with CCF in early 2015, one of the first cancer fighters I met was Juliana Carver. At that time, sweet Juliana was battling cancer for the sixth time. Her father, John, serves on our Board of Directors and was one of the first board members to contact me directly. He shared firsthand the struggles they endured as a family. My heart was in pieces. I was shattered. No child should have to go through such pain. No family should have to watch and witness the agony. Pediatric cancer is relentless and brutal.

Over the next year and a half, I visited Juliana both at home and in the hospital and even through pain, endless treatments, and a bone marrow transplant, she remained positive. She was a fighter. Quite simply, Juliana is remarkable.

Tragically, after nine and a half years, Juliana lost her fight with rhabdomyosarcoma on October 24, 2016. Today, she remains an inspiration for me. John continues on our Board of Directors, advocating passionately about the need for more awareness and fundraising for pediatric cancer research.

John and his wife, Tammy, continue Juliana’s legacy through advocacy. John shares, “My wife, Tammy, and I continue to maintain Juliana’s Facebook page (Angels for Juliana) as a way to draw attention to childhood cancer and give a face to children, like Juliana, who just want to be healthy and live a long life.

We also work with The Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc. (CCF) and especially support their fundraising efforts for pediatric cancer research. After years and years of fighting, numerous treatment protocols and many consultations with rhabdomyosarcoma experts, being told there are no remaining treatment options for your child is heartbreaking. We remain hopeful that through the cutting-edge research that CCF supports, through generous grants, a cure will one day be discovered. The agony, without our Juliana, is 24/7/365. We MUST discover cures for pediatric cancer. No parent should outlive their child. Juliana, and so many other children, deserve so much more out of life.”

John and Tammy, along with the thousands of other parents and families who have buried a child or sibling lost to cancer, remind me why CCF remains an essential component to this cause. It is each of you, each family, each child, that is, or has been, in the trenches of cancer treatment, of uncertainty, of exhaustion, or inexplicable pain, facing the fear of the unknown, each of you motivates us.

I ask that you share these stories with others and raise awareness of the critical need for increased pediatric cancer research funding. Learn more about CCF’s commitment to funding local pediatric cancer researchers, and bringing them together to raise the level of cancer research for all children. Until every child is assured a healthy future, we have work to do.

In partnership,

Tasha Museles
The Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc.

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