HOUSTON, TX – Cancer: it’s a word that brings fear to adults, but think of what it would be like if you were to hear that word when you’re just a child?
In the U.S., every year, more than 13,000 kids under the age of 21 have to hear they’ve been diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer survivor Michael Graves says, “When I found out I had cancer, I was scared as heck but to know all this research and all this technology we have these days, it made me feel like I was still a regular child.”
Graves found out he had cancer at the age of 14, but he has beaten the disease and shares his story of survival with others including children.
“To come back and see all these kids… To see that I made it, they can make it too by looking at people like myself.”
The Periwinkle Foundation’s “Celebrate Life” event is all about providing the opportunity for kids to be kids and to hear from others who have been able to beat the disease they’re having to battle.
Kids got to take part in games, arts and crafts, or just bounce around and have some fun.
Periwinkle Foundation board President Joe Birkofer says, “That support that the kids give each other is extremely rewarding and is far more powerful, I think, than any of the medicines out there.”
30 years ago, childhood cancer survival rates were around 60 percent but now those numbers are above 80%.
“We have a long term survivor’s group so kids that can make it and beat cancer too, can join our long-time survivors group,’ says Graves. ‘We talk like we’re family every day. It’s just a wonderful thing to have supporting group besides you.”
The celebration of life is one party we can all jump onboard.