I wish there weren’t reasons to write this post. I wish my friend Sheila (aka Mary Tyler Mom to many of you) still had her daughter, Donna. I wish she was picking Donna up from school right now and gathering up ALL of her kids into a big hug. And I wish so many families around the world didn’t have to face the terror of a cancer diagnosis for their children–and the fear, uncertainty (and too often, grief) that goes along with it.
Sheila’s daughter Donna died at the age of four of an aggressive brain tumor that was diagnosed when she was 20 months old. Sheila wrote a series of 31 posts about it, one for each month of treatment, called Donna’s Cancer Story, published on Chicago Now.
Did you know that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in this country? Almost 15,000 children die from cancer every year. Yet only 4% of federal funding is devoted to finding cures for childhood cancers. Only two new medications were approved that were specifically developed to treat children with cancer–until last year. That newest medication was developed through research that was funded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of pediatric cancer research in the country
Each year, Sheila and her husband celebrate Donna by raising money through a head-shaving event in Chicago to support St. Baldricks. This year’s event takes place on March 19 and they’ve set a goal of raising $45,000. If you can donate, please visit the Donna’s Good Things Team Page (click on the green button to donate). All money raised goes directly to St. Baldrick’s, and any amount will honor Donna and so many other children.
If you live in the Chicago area, you can also attend the March 19 event, meet Sheila (trust me, you’ll love her), and celebrate Donna’s amazing spirit.