Our organization is dedicated to helping these – the bravest of the brave
From the founder:
This nonprofit grew out of personal experience. For years, I was content in the belief that pediatric cancer was no longer a significant danger and that modern medicine had it on the run. Other dangers my grandchildren faced worried me – kidnapping, drowning, falling off a bike, playing with a loaded gun – but cancer? Not a real concern because I figured it was rare and successfully treated these days.
That confidence was shattered one October day in 2013 when my precious 6 year old granddaughter was diagnosed with an incurable cancerous brain tumor. An unwelcome entry into the world of pediatric cancer followed—with education on the true facts about this horror. I learned and can never forget that:
- Cancer in children is far from rare: It is the number one cause of death by disease of our children. Invasive cancer among children increases every year. 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer by age 20. Almost 16,000 will be diagnosed with pediatric cancer this year alone.
- Pediatric cancer is not cured: 1 in 5 diagnosed will die – at a rate of 7 each and every day. Most “survivors” will suffer dire physical, mental and emotional consequences and many die prematurely.
- Treatment is neither quick nor easy: For some types of pediatric cancer, there is no treatment at all. They are universally fatal. For the rest, the therapies are painful, toxic, debilitating. Steroids, for example, cause wild mood swings, swollen bodies and ravenous hunger. Treatment can stretch over months or years. Relapses are frequent and the awful process begins anew.
The day Jennifer died, 3 ½ months after diagnosis, I vowed to do some good in the area of childhood cancer. The most obvious area of need is finding a cure. My daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer’s parents, started one such organization (www.unravelpediatriccancer.org) and, in a short time, have done incredible work of which I am so proud.
Looking for a different path, I recalled how fortunate I had been to receive professional photographs of my granddaughter and our family taken during her illness. There are two images of Jennifer and me together than I treasure more than words can express.
Parents living through the horror of pediatric cancer, much less trying to survive after a terminal diagnosis, rarely consider how important it will be to have beautiful family photographs. Even if this crosses their mind, few can afford such a luxury.
Only later do they fully realize that they will miss an entire lifetime of photos of their child. No more graduation, birthday or Christmas pictures. No proms or weddings. No family portraits. No pictures at all.
To fill this need, Quiet Strength was born.