Childhood Cancer

A New Collaboration for Childhood Cancer Research

I am beyond excited to share what Alice & Wonder called their “most important sweatshirt of the year” with you! The More Than Four collection  benefits childhood cancer research because less than 4% of government funding for cancer goest toward our children. I decided on You Are Magic because all children are magic, and all children deserve to get to live that magic. $10 from each sweatshirt goes directly to our Alex’s Lemonade Stand fundraiser for childhood cancer research. And today – Friday, September 30, 10% of ALL of Alice & Wonder’s sales both in-store and online will be donated to our fundraiser.  It feels so meaningful to launch during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, exactly two months after my daughter rang the bell, marking the end of over 2 years of cancer treatment. With the holidays coming and a new season upon us, I can’t think of a better time (or reason) to shop! 

A New Collaboration for Childhood Cancer Research

So let me share a little bit about how this came to be. Ali and I were on the phone talking through another collaboration, and it came together so quickly. Just a few minutes into our call I was like “so that’s it? we have a concept?” and a week later she had this design to me. I loved the initial design, she found the perfect shade of green, and that was that. And to be clear will not profit off of this collaboration in any way. 

Why more than four?

Each piece from our collaborations says “more than four” on the back because childhood cancer receives less than 4% of government dollars that go toward cancer research. And our children deserve so much more than that. Approximately 47 children diagnosed every single day. The United States also spends on Starbucks in just a few days what the government spends on research in an entire year. The care of children (and sick children) should matter more than that. 

Our Story 

My daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (or ALL B) which happens to one of the most common childhood cancers. And I can tell you that while older children are hit hard for other reasons, younger children have such a battle to face, from taking their medicine to allowing nurses to even touch them. It was an early diagnosis and we are near of the top children’s hospitals with an incredible health care team. We caught it as it was happening, and she was standard risk with favorable genetics, so as low risk as possible. She was given a close to 100 percent chance of being ok, and when it comes to the cases of childhood cancer, we were truly best-case. And it was still an absolute nightmare. I shared more of our story here.

Survival rates are high for her type of cancer, but that’s not the case for everyone, and we have to do better. But we need new treatment options and better outcomes for all types of cancer. From  retinoblastoma (eye cancer) to various types of brain cancer to wilms tumor (kidney cancer). In recent years, there has been some incredible process with immunotherapies and other less-toxic essential medicines for these kids. The possible clinical trials presented to us sounded so terrible that we were honestly hoping we wouldn’t qualify, and we didn’t, but that shouldn’t be the case. 

We have to do better

I’ve gotten to know so many of these kids and their moms and can tell you that I’ve met too many families and have gone through way too much for this to be one of those things that just happens to other people. Too many children diagnosed at 2 years of age, and treatment of childhood cancer turns their lives upside down. You cannot walk into a pediatric oncology floor and not want to fight for these kids. It’s not possible. They go through what most would call unimaginable, but really, we have to imagine it. It needs to matter to all of us. The treatment protocols in place are what would apply to your child or your friends child should they get sick. That’s not a scare tactic – that’s not likely. But it wasn’t supposed to happen to my daughter, either. That’s just the reality. 

This doesn’t just happen to other people

Here’s the thing. You never think a cancer diagnosis will happen to you or your child, and it probably won’t. But it probably also wasn’t going to happen to my child, either. Causes of childhood cancer are unknown – it just happens out of the blue. Childhood cancer care and treatment needs to matter to all of us. The burden of childhood cancer hits most families so hard – it’s just so unfair. There are effective treatments for the most common types of cancer. And as a parent who’s been through it, I can’t help but think about the children facing a less treatable diagnosis.

These intense treatments are toxic and brutal. The drugs kill sick and healthy cells, so the quality of life during treatment isn’t great. It’s not the cancer that makes these kids so sick. The side effects (both short and long term), weight loss, hair loss, and often chronic health problems are a result of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. We need better treatments for the second leading cause of death for children. 

My daughter’s treatment is done, but until pediatric cancer treatment improves, I will keep fighting. And I am so grateful to Ali and her team for helping us in our fight.