September is a slow and mesmerizing free-fall. It is a sobering, coming down from the carefree adrenaline of summer, and the distant hope of a season not quite yet arrived. It promises two things—a somber end to summer’s sweet extroversion, and the commencement of a season marked by a period of comforting investment in one’s own heart. Spirit’s fire settles. Passionate flames retreat, tucking their energy into the folds of a quieting soul. They hold within them the elation of the summer, and the bitter parting from what they knew could not last forever. Yet their amber glow pulses with the hope of a time to come, a time where they reignite and fill their intended purpose, and light their predestined corner of the world. To me, September is a recharging of the soul—recognition of what has come to pass, and the settling into a hopeful incubation for the work that lies on the horizon.
Painting wooden figures is an all-time favorite craft for kids at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Five years ago, a little boy with no hair sat beside me, splotching gobs of glittery paint atop a dragon made of wood. I don’t remember the boy’s name, but I remember his face, his kind eyes. When his mom came to get him from the playroom after he had been discharged, he turned to me. “This is for you,” he said. And before I could respond, he had bolted out of the playroom and was halfway down the hall, his left arm reaching up with little fingers curled tight around his mother’s hand.
by Stephanie Zimmerman, MSN, Childhood Cancer Advocate
“Cure Is Not Enough”
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the message that is circling the globe is #GoGold in every possible way from lapel pins and t-shirts to state houses and monuments being lit up gold. It’s a month of gold ribbons with hashtags pointing to our children, our adolescents, and our young adults.
September is here. A month marked by back to school and routine also carries another meaning for my family.
It’s Childhood Cancer Awareness month, but this September and for every September moving forward, there will always be one child missing. There will always be an empty seat at our table and an empty desk in the classroom. This year, there will be no sweet girl anxious and excited to enter grade one. She will not climb up the huge steps to follow her big sister onto the school bus or pick out a new backpack. I will not get to pack her favourites for lunch, braid her hair, or shop for new clothes. There will be no stories of new teachers and new friends. I won’t get to hold her hand as she embarks on her new adventure. Her big sister will stand alone for the token and treasured first day of school photo.
September is usually a time when kids are getting back into the swing of school, temperatures are cooling off and people are gearing up for fall and winter. Summer starts to fade into the distance as flip flops get worn less and fall jackets come out of the closet. September is also a whole month dedicated to bringing awareness to childhood cancer. For me, it is a time to honor what has already happened in my life and also the experiences of other patients and families affected by childhood or teen cancers. It is a time to think about the hopes for the future of people who are already surviving and those who are yet to be diagnosed.
Awareness…..what does it really mean? September is here and with it starts Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As a two-time childhood cancer survivor, I am always grateful for this month that reminds me of what I have been through and how far I have been able to come. Social media goes gold and Facebook fills with the stories of children battling and surviving cancer. This awareness effort is so important to help the world understand the impact of cancer on a child’s life.