Community reflects on Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Priscilla Woo, Academics Editor

According to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), an organization established to help children with cancer by raising awareness and funding research, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American children. Foundations such as ALSF recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM) every September in honor of kids with cancer.

For some students, this month holds great significance, and allows them to reflect on how their lives have been affected by cancer since a young age.

“[When] I was a month away from turning 13, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in my left cheek when I went to the dentist for an X-ray,” junior Alyssa Sherman said.

Sherman, who even had her nails painted yellow, the color of childhood cancer awareness, to commemorate the month, encourages everyone to join in showing support.

“If you know anyone that has cancer, just be really supportive and be their crutch,” Sherman said. 

Senior Skyler Hundley takes time this month to look back on her own struggles with cancer. Hundley was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of four. 

“Experiencing cancer at the age that I did has shaped me a lot,” Hundley said. “Five to seven years of age is a big time for childhood, and for me, that was kind of taken away, which has made me mature a lot faster.” 

Although the fight against cancer can be a difficult one, many are strengthened by their ability to overcome hurdles through constant support, determination and hope. 

“I like to hear the word ‘survivor,” Hundley said. “For me, there’s a very powerful meaning behind it,”

Unlike Sherman and Hundley, junior Kiryn Virdi was never diagnosed with cancer at a young age, but she was still impacted by the disease when her older brother, Rajay Virdi, was diagnosed last October with osteosarcoma cancer.

“When everyone thinks of cancer, they think, ‘Oh that is so sad,’ and go and mind their own business. I was someone who did that because I didn’t really understand because I didn’t go through it,” Virdi said. “But now, seeing my brother go through it has made me realize how important it is to support.”

Even if your life has not been directly affected by cancer, this month is a time to remember those who are currently fighting as well as those who have overcome the fight against cancer. By supporting children with cancer, you are giving them the perseverance and hope that they need to keep fighting. Some ways to help include donating to nonprofit organizations or attending fundraising events. 

“It’s changed my perspective to do better in life, to appreciate the little things and not get so stressed out about unnecessary things,” Virdi said. “It puts your perspective into thinking, ‘I’m waking up today, so I need to make this the best day ever.’”

Priscilla Woo
source: American Childhood Cancer Organization