National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: A Mother’s Perspective


In my household, the month of September and the passing of Labor Day used to mean tucking away my white jeans, getting the kids settled at school and ordering Halloween costumes.

After my son’s cancer diagnosis in 2013, September will never be the same …EVER. The month now carries a sacred significance for our family and for all families touched each year by childhood cancer.

September is designated as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each September there are families working their hardest to reach out and awaken the general consciousness about this elusive malady that touches the most beautiful and vulnerable part of our society.

Yet most people don’t know what the month’s “golden ribbon” signifies: a desperate, unmet need for greater funding to find treatments. Headlines about advances in cancer therapies for adults obscure the astonishing fact that, for kids, there is no treatment revolution. Only a very small number of pediatric cancer drugs have been approved for children over the past 30 years, and national and pharmaceutical funding for new therapies continues to be lower than what is needed.

I don’t want to share with you the statistics, the numbers about the stark reality of childhood cancer. I do want to ask you, have you ever been a child?

I want to ask you to reflect back and remember if you trusted the grownups in your world to make your world safe and just. I want to ask you if you ever felt the presence of a love so enveloping that you knew that no matter what, goodness would prevail and children would always be a nation’s priority. I want to ask you to remember that grownups have a sacred duty to be stewards of our children, especially the ones that don’t have the voice or wherewithal to change the status quo.

If you recall the innocence and faith that once defined you…then you must already know much about why raising awareness about childhood cancer is imperative. This September, you can do your part in forming an invincible circle of light and love around a child and family affected by cancer.

September summons a golden opportunity for all of us to be better advocates for children and to be informed about the varied challenges facing childhood cancer research. Awareness can come in many different ways. It can be something as lovely and powerful as a whispered prayer for a child and the medical team taking care of that child, being fully present for the family, raising funds for research that is desperately needed, reaching out to the teacher, the politician, the artist, the corporate sector and your social media friends and challenging them to support this cause. If you can summon the child in you, then your efforts will come from an authentic call in your heart and perhaps, as the school year marches on, this auspicious month will not just quietly slip away.

September will never be the same…EVER.


To learn more about Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, visit here.

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About Asha Jamal Virani, mother of patient

I am honored to be the mother of three beautiful children. Faris D. our angel, continues to lead the way for our family with his heavenly light and deep abiding love. Our two other children never cease to amaze me with their integrity, compassion and resiliency. Our family, inspired by our son, started the Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center at Texas Children’s Hospital. This center is the only comprehensive research center in the world dedicated to understanding Ewing Sarcoma through programs in basic, translational and clinical research. Our hope is that the center will not only be an international center of excellence but serve as a beacon of hope for families. We are now part of the circle of love, hope and prayer for all children affected by the malady, cancer whose cure remains so elusive.
Posted in Cancer and Hematology, Guest Post

13 Responses to National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: A Mother’s Perspective

  1. Rob Michaels says:

    Amazing article. Praying for your family.

    • Asha says:

      Thank you Rob for your kindness and especially your prayers.
      One enlightened reader, one change in heart, simply more awareness can and will spawn a paradigm shift in childhood cancer funding. It must!

  2. Z. K. Mitha says:

    Beautiful article Asha! Children are a blessing in our lives, and it is wonderful to see the great work being done here! May Texas Children’s Hospital find a cure very soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I have been a supporter and friend of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee for almost a decade. I hope that Texas Children’s can collaborate with them to benefit all parties – two outstanding organizations can sometimes work miracles!

  3. Rachel R. says:

    This is a beautiful article. You raise excellent points about the need to raise awareness – and funding – for children’s cancer research and treatment. I wish I could hand out a gold ribbon to everyone in Houston.

  4. Keely says:

    Wonderful article! Blessings and Prayers to you and your family.
    Love, Keely

  5. Karen Edelman says:

    Such an inspiring insight into the world of childhood cancer and what we ALL can do to support families and our society while fighting this dreaded disease. Bravo Asha for continuing to shine the light for all of us.

  6. Laurel says:

    Asha,

    I am so proud of the amazing and necessary work you are doing on behalf of your son, and many other children. You and your family are an inspiration!

    Love,
    Laurel

  7. Cindy Hanan says:

    Beautiful and inspiring gift from the heart, Asha! Our love and support are with you, your amazing family, and all the suffering children that are so desperately hoping for a cure.

  8. Azmina Kanji says:

    What an amazing / inspirational article. Asha, I have been blessed to have known and worked with both you and Farid as well as your two beautiful children.
    We continue praying for your family and in particular our little trooper!

  9. shahnaz says:

    I pray for your amazing Family! May God the most merciful bless you and your beautiful family. You and Farid sir is a blessing! May Almighty keep blessing you generously! Ameen

  10. Christa Forster says:

    Thank you for inspiring us to remember ourselves as children and asking us to steward ourselves and our children into a present and a future that is healthier — physically, mentally and spiritually — for all of us.

  11. Jennifer Haynes says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and love for your beautiful family. Your family continues to be such a bright light and so very inspiring.

  12. Sherral Greenhouse says:

    Dr. V,
    I recently found about about Farim’s illness and I want you to know that a continuous flow of prayers are going up for him and your loving family. God takes care of all of his angels because he is all about love. If there’s anything I can do for you please feel free to call. Love you always.

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