Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Nothing prepares you for the day you're told Your child has cancer.  There are nearly 800 children actively seeking cancer treatment in the North Texas area, and their families have experienced the shock of that life-changing statement. Your life becomes a whirlwind of surgeries, doctors appointments, and medical terminology. Coping with the diagnosis and supporting your child takes all of your time and energy, leaving little for you to focus on everyday necessities of keeping your family together.

Childhood Cancer Awareness MonthI know this experience firsthand “ my daughter, Taylor, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of four. At the time, my husband and I were expecting our third child, and also had a toddler to care for at home. We were trying to focus on all of our children, Taylor's needs both physically and emotionally, and taking care of our everyday needs like groceries and utility bills. My husband had to take time off from his job, resulting in a reduced income, and I was due to have our third child any day.

Luckily, our family had a support system that stepped up and took care of anything we needed so we could focus on Taylor's treatment. From hosting a golf tournament to raise money for a nanny, to bringing meals to me and my husband while we sat by Taylor's hospital bed, they were our heroes during this difficult time.

Unfortunately, Taylor lost her battle with cancer. I ™m still able to look back on this time and remember the kindness and support we received from the community, and recognize that not all families have the same support system behind them. Together with another mom, Jenny Scott, who lost her baby daughter Allie to the same cancer Taylor had, we founded Heroes for Children, a non-profit organization that provides financial and social assistance to families with a child battling cancer, in 2004.

Knowing there are many more families going through this hardship, HFC provides direct financial assistance to families who are also faced with children battling cancer. The average gift we send to a family is $750 to assist with mortgage and rent payments, utility payments, and hotel/travel expenses. In 2010, we fulfilled 762 requests for financial assistance, and have provided assistance to more than 3,000 families in the state of Texas.

In addition to financial assistance, HFC tries to provide a sense of normalcy  for children during this difficult time, especially being away from their schools and friends. Through Laptops for Love, we give new laptops to teenagers battling cancer that helps connect them to the outside world and keep up their school work while they cannot attend school. We ™ve donated more than 300 laptops since the program began in 2005. Through Holiday Heroes, we provide a festive holiday season to families who may not be able to afford gifts and decorations. Our women's auxiliary, HFC Friends, shops for the families and organizes a holiday party complete with crafts and pictures with Santa.

This past week marked the beginning of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and we invite everyone to find a way to get involved with our organization. Numerous ways to start getting involved with Heroes for Children are:

She is Dallas info: This article was written by  Larissa Linton, Co-founder of    Heroes for Children (HFC), a Texas-based non-profit, helps families in these situations, understanding that a cancer diagnosis for one child affects the whole family.  If you ™d like more information on Heroes for Children, or other opportunities to get involved, please visit  www.heroesforchildren.org.

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