By Kay Buelvas
Gold: (adjective) bright, metallic; exceptionally valuable; having glowing vitality; radiant; full of happiness, prosperity, or vigor; highly talented and favored; destined for success
Once upon a time I had a Golden Boy. He was everything listed above, but most of all he was our precious treasure. Then cancer showed its repulsive face on June 14, 2006.
Our son, Raul, was diagnosed with metastatic osteosarcoma two weeks before his 13th birthday. This was the day that everything changed. Instead of carefree summer days at the pool, we were thrust into a dark world of chemotherapy, surgeries, blood counts, and transfusions. Life continued for others – birthday parties, movies, ice cream, sports. Our life became blurred by hours at clinics, days, and nights in the hospital, weight loss, and lack of sleep. I cried silent tears as I secretly collected the clumps of hair on his pillow, stuffing the cherished locks into plastic bags. Every holiday, every photo, my mind faced the possibility that this is it: the last family gathering, the last Christmas. Each milestone that was reached felt like I was laughing in cancer’s face, that we were winning. I pretended that life was fine and normal, when every cell within me was screaming in pain.
It hurts to remember, but I have to act. What can I do to make life better for the next child and his or her family? How can you help make a difference in the suffering of a child?
Childhood cancer is on the rise. It is the number 1 cause of death by disease in children. Children are the most valuable thing we have. They are more precious than gold.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. CURE Childhood Cancer is a Georgia-based organization that donates more than $4.3 million annually to research projects at leading U.S. institutions with the goal of improving pediatric cancer survival statistics, while seeking less toxic treatment methods. CURE also provides emergency assistance to ease financial burdens during treatment, brings meals to patients and caregivers, holds outreach programs, and offers counseling and bereavement care. 87% of all donations go to research and patient family support. CURE is making a difference for children with cancer.
CURE’s September Gold Mailbox Campaign is in full swing. I will proudly display a bow on my mailbox in memory of my golden boy.