For those of our friends that have been Salon Khouri enthusiasts for a few years, you know our passion and the story and names behind our passion for childhood cancer awareness. This past year has seen tremendous strides being made, but there is still a lot of work to do. Here are a few stats borrowed from our friends at The Truth 365:
- Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents in the United States. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
- One out of every 300 males and one out of every 333 females in America will develop cancer before their 20th birthday. (Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology)
- More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year. (Source: CureSearch)
- Approximately 20 percent of all children with cancer will die for their disease, a secondary cancer, or complications from treatment. (National Cancer Institute)
- Incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
- In the last 20 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only two pediatric cancer drugs—Clolar (clofarabine) and Erwinaze (asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi)—that were initially studied in children. Other drugs for children’s cancers were first studied in or approved for adults with cancer. (American Association for Cancer Research)
- Cancer treatments can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Child survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
There are more facts, but reading just these few is hard enough. And that’s sort of the predicament these children are in. Childhood cancer is scary. It’s not easy to look at, and it’s certainly not easy to see photos of children battling the disease. Finding a way to rally in a positive way is often difficult, particularly when a child is terminal. And that’s why we chose to support this cause more than once last year and again this year. We feel more people need to know the truth about childhood cancers. Many times, it’s the parents of the children fighting who are out raising awareness. That’s just not fair to them. They have such a heavy load — it is our responsibility to pick up the banner and march on their behalf.
If you think childhood cancer is rare, think again. As we mentioned in our September 2013 blog post, we know at least eight children in our immediate circle of friends who have been diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer. Ava Buhr, the daughter of a long-time Salon Khouri client, was diagnosed with Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when she was just two and a half years old. After two and a half years of chemotherapy — yes two and a half years — we got to cheer as Ava celebrated her last day of chemotherapy! You can read more about Ava here.
Then, just last year, we received heartbreaking news that a long-time family friend’s daughter, Kate Rhoades, was diagnosed at just two and a half years of age with high risk, Pre-B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia — just like Ava. You can read more about Kate’s story here. The survival rates for ALL are great — which is the good news. However, Kate, just like Ava, will still have to endure a grueling two and a half years of chemotherapy. That’s a lot of pokes, a lot of nausea, a lot of just not feeling well at all. Probably one of the most difficult introductions I’ve ever had to make in my life was introducing Kate’s mom to Ava’s mom. Happy introductions would be something in the realm of, “both your daughters love Hello Kitty — I thought I’d introduce you!” Instead, it was, “Lindsay, let me introduce you to Jeannie. Her daughter was also diagnosed with ALL at two and a half years old and she can hopefully answer some questions for you.”
We will continue to raise awareness for these little cuties. And we will continue to raise awareness for those we lost to this awful disease just this past year: Talia Joy Castellano, Zach Sobiech, Chase Johnson, and two local children, Gabriella Miller and Gavin Rupp. Each time we hear another child has lost their battle, our heart is filled with a heavy sadness. It is then filled with anger — anger that pediatric cancer is given such little funding compared to adult cancers, and anger that childhood cancers have risen 29% in the past 20 years and it’s not a headline story on every news channel.
As a little ol’ hair salon in Fairfax, VA, we are just trying to help in any way we can. Spread awareness, raise a little money, and hopefully, inspire others to learn more about childhood cancer and what they can do to help. One easy thing everyone can do is to sign the petition at The Truth 365 asking Congress to make childhood cancer research a national priority. You could follow Kate and Ava’s stories, volunteer at Cure Fest this September, or just simply pray for these kids. We will continue to pray daily for these little ones. Also, this May, Salon Khouri will donate $1 from each haircut to the dream team of pediatric oncologists working hard to find a cure via The Truth 365.