THE SMALL CHILDREN AND THEIR BIG BATTLES
“Their laughter will make your heart melt. Their strength will make a grown person cry. If you ever see a child fight cancer, it will change your life forever. “
Everything starts with pain and it is ended through the pain. The women know the best meaning of that glorious circle of life because they are capable to give the birth and mothers keep the Earth alive, turning the completely world into the beautiful garden of newborn hopes. Those who have children are those who are blessed with a chance to live again, through the DNA of their sons or daughters, reaching the eternity. The joy of birth brings Paradise among people and the pain of death left us all in powerless silence. It is written long time ago, there is no bigger punishment as for parents to bury their child, to send the little angel back to Heaven, without even having a chance to celebrate life.
Since I have watched the movie “The Heart of Christmas”, I cannot get rid of feeling that I owe something to the all parents out there who are fighting the biggest battle ever, to save the lives of their beloved children, from the jaws of cancer, from the deadly touch of childhood leukemia. The tragic story about little and brave Dax Locke who was diagnosed with AML M7 leukemia redesigned my whole understanding of parent’s role and the importance of community in a time of need. The movie follows the daily efforts of young parents to entertain their son and to give him support to overcome difficult clinical treatment of childhood leukemia, in St. Jude’s hospital. It is not only about challenging moments for a family but for all people who are sharing the Dax’s ups and downs, presented through the online diary of his mom. The fascinating fact is that so many people were there to support Dax, to pray for him, to contribute in his progress and to be ruined by his regress. The community has been a family and the family has been a community. They have merged into one, through the toxic pain that has infected all, letting them united in life against death. After it was clear that Dax would not reach the Christmas and that, the leukemia has no mercy anymore, his parents decided to create the Christmas before Christmas, Dax’s Christmas in November. The neighbors took also a participation in this mission of hearts and they helped so the whole town has been in Christmas spirit, only for Dax. The story makes goose bumps because it reminds us of the beauty of community, friendship, love and hope. Even at those terrible and last moments, Dax’s mom and dad are smiling, sparkling, and radiating pure emotions and timeless spiritual vibes, comforting others before themselves.
The real Dax passed away on December 30th, 2009, at age 2. His death made so many Americans sad an determinate to help the rise of awareness for childhood leukemia and the army of little people who are fighting to survive. Dax’s mother wanted to keep fighting in the name of Dax and her mission has been realized through Dax Foundation and support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The warm but heart breathing tale about young boy whose light was more beautiful as Christmas’s light has given me a new purpose in life, to help those tiny warriors to win, to let them know they arent forgotten but celebrated as the biggest heroes within our societies.
How we can ignore the pain of people whose children are suffering from childhood leukemia, counting every day as a new blessing? Because we are, too busy complaining about our lives. Because we are too occupied with those irrelevant things that we call problems. Those “problems” are nothing if we compare them with lack of sunshine in lives of those who are affected with cancer. At the end of day, the smile at the cute face of little patient is the sunshine we will never have within us. That is appreciation for life, which is joy of being alive; the sign that fight is not lost. Those children can teach our world about happiness. They are like diamonds hidden in dirt of our indifference. When was the last time we shared compassion? I cannot remember but I want to change it, like if Dax’s pain changed my life and my heart.
According to some unpleasant statistics from the WHO, the childhood cancers have risen across the globe by 13% over 20 years and the biggest issue is definitely childhood leukemia that hits a third of the cases under the age of 15. The childhood cancer is rare but still leukemia is on the rise. Why? Some scientists believe it is because of constant environmental changes and introduction of toxins that attack the young blood cells and turn them into malign. The survival rate is promising but there are many who lost the chance to stay on the surface. The problem with childhood leukemia is lack of funds for deep research. It is not easy to find one who will sponsor the long experimental studies and who will invest in the future of children’s health.” Most of the funding for childhood cancer research comes from the National Cancer Institute. In 2013, the latest searchable budget year available, the NCI had a total budget of $4.9 billion, but spent just 4% of that — roughly $185 million — on childhood cancer. That statistic has spawned a rallying cry for more funding on social media, #morethanfour.”
The most important element of fighting childhood leukemia with success is to detect the illness in its early stage, recognizing the dangerous symptoms that children develop. The majority of parents make a mistake and do not give a big attention to the signs that could stop cancer before it takes or overtakes the innocent cells. American Cancer Society has a campaign of sharing information among parents and they have formulated the fearful set of symptoms be to taken into serious consideration:” The symptoms of leukemia are often caused by problems in the child’s bone marrow, which is where the leukemia begins. As leukemia cells build up in the marrow, they can crowd out the normal blood cell-making cells. As a result, a child may not have enough normal red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood platelets. These shortages show up on blood tests, but they can also cause symptoms. The leukemia cells might also invade other areas of the body, which can also cause symptoms. Symptoms from low red blood cell counts (anemia): Red blood cells carry oxygen to all of the cells in the body. A shortage of red blood cells can cause 1.Tiredness (fatigue), 2. Weakness 3. Feeling cold 4. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded 5.Headaches 6.Shortness of breath 7. Pale skin”
The genesis of the disease depends on the type of childhood leukemia: acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). It seems that children who suffer from AML have less favorable prognosis and they do not show such great results in remission but if the leukemia is cured coudnt be said after induction treatment, in first 6 weeks. It is always a big issue if it is gone, present as minimal residual disease or active disease. That is a long journey for a child and all who love that child, sometimes even longer as life of that innocent young patient.
The 5-year survival rate is known to be a statistic standard for patients who live at least 5 years after the cancer is detected. In other words, the children who are free from leukemia after 5 years are those considered as cured. The positive outcome will be linked to the early stage of detection, efficiency of treatment and genetically composed background of the child. Not all people are the same so are not the children and their immune capacity. The accent must be on active participation of parents and little sufferers in the advanced medical research and available opportunities. The second improvement should be mental support and creative efforts of surroundings and society to integrate the beautiful kids into the optimistic vibes and the network of unstoppable hope.
They have never wanted to be sick and they should be accepted as heroes of our times. Instead of worshiping so called stars, show business lunatics, fake values, we have to invest our time, attention and love into the young warriors that have never ever complained about their lives but accepted and embraced. They teach us about forgotten meaning of the family and friendship, opening the gates of universe where real people and good hearts still exist and still care for each other’s. The Dax’s world.
HELP THE CHILDREN WHO FIGHT CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA: