Because of her and her and him

Yesterday I ran along the ocean, felt the warm sun on my back, and took a huge breath of gratitude for that moment of freedom. The sun glittered on the ocean. I said a silent thank you for my health, one I’ve learned from others to never take for granted.

A little over a year ago, I met with a woman Michelle who had started Mama’s Night Out, a fundraising event to benefit pediatric cancer. Michelle has 3 healthy kids but was inspired to raise awareness towards this underfunded terminal disease and shed light on the real stories and families it affects. Let’s repeat that, these are real people and to be honest, I hope you don’t know any of them but I bet some of you do. I met with Michelle and she fought (I love the fighters) to start a fundraising team through She.is.beautiful.

And just like that, Team Glitter was created. Michelle connected us with Unravel Pediatric Cancer, a new non profit that was created in honor of a beautiful girl Jennifer Lynn. At the time of our meeting, Jennifer had passed away less than a year ago, leaving her parents and 3 siblings at more than a loss…it was a hole of the space she took up in their world. She was six.

Last year they raised over $50,000 through Team Glitter’s fundraising in a few short months leading up to She.is.beautiful. This blew my mind and my heart. Funds raised go directly to Pediatric Cancer research and to support local families going through this unimaginable experience.

As I have learned more about Pediatric Cancer, the life that Jennifer’s family is still living,  other kids and families it’s affecting; it’s sad, horrific, and unimaginable. Seeing photos of kids that have lost their life to this terminal disease, they look just like the kids I see playing on the beach or at the park. They are those kids.

So if you’re like me and feel it’s easier to sometimes look away from these painful stories, I understand. I believe the majority of us are good people, but as humans we don’t like sad endings. As humans it’s natural for us to not look and carry on with our day, our schedules, our own families.

But as I get out of bed before the sun comes up to go for a run, these families and stories have slipped into my head. They don’t only remind me to be grateful, they remind me to take action. Maybe for you, taking action means telling more people about this horrible disease. For some, taking action means fundraising on your own or reaching out to these non profits to see what you can do. The more we talk about it and acknowledge that it’s real, the more people know, the more chances are that someone may know have connections to someone with the right resources or be inspired enough to find a cure.

Thank you Michelle, Unravel Pediatric Cancer, and Jennifer. You have taught me that 36 children a day are diagnosed with pediatric cancer. 7 children a day die from pediatric cancer. The American Cancer Society only give 1 cent of every 1 dollar raised to pediatric cancer.

These statistics and stories make me uncomfortable. Because sometimes I feel like it’s so big, where do we start. Team Glitter is giving you a chance to start here: https://unravelpediatriccancer.org/events/teamglitter/

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