As one of the newest members of the PCRF team I thought I would share a bit about my first few months with the organization. I’ll be honest, I was hesitant to take this position when I was first offered it. I just wondered how I would be able to come to work each day and see these beautiful kids’ faces and know how much cancer has completely changed them and their entire family?
How am I going to work with these parents who have lost their kids or are currently watching their little one fight for their life? The feeling of helplessness that I could only imagine these families were going through. I just kept thinking to myself “I will get too attached, and then won’t be able to take the heartbreak.” This was all too relatable to me, and I wasn’t sure that I had the strength to wake up and face this every day.
I was offered the Director of Corporate Alliances position when I was 8 months pregnant with my second child. That in itself I believe says a lot about the organization. I knew that I was going to be supported and appreciated because they were giving me the opportunity to begin the position whenever I felt ready to start. When my start date arrived, my baby was off to daycare, and my 3-year-old son was off to preschool. Whenever I would see a baby or preschooler fighting cancer, I couldn’t help but think of my own kids, my own little family. Was this self-centered? Probably yes, but it was my honest truth.
Every time I saw another pic of a baby who was diagnosed, I thought, what if my baby is next, what if my preschooler starts to show signs of cancer? The kind of worries that are fueled by social media and how much information was available at my fingertips. Being new in my position, I followed everything I could about pediatric cancer to try to educate myself on the disease and the community that supports those going through it. Then I quickly realized that I was tearing up on a very regular basis, so I thought, I need to quickly unfollow all of these pediatric cancer-related accounts.
I decided to ask my coworker who had been with PCRF for 10 years how she handled the challenge of seeing these pictures and reading these devastating stories so frequently. She is an amazing human, and so eloquently told me that yes, it is very emotional at times, but she said she has learned how to channel her emotions into drive and determination to do whatever she can to help these kids and their families who are fighting pediatric cancer each day. So, that is exactly what I decided to do. I chose NOT to unfollow all of the accounts. I chose to continue to read about these precious babies who were taken away too soon. I chose to buy the t-shirt to support Team Beans. I chose to connect with some of the parents I know who have kids actively fighting this fight.
Disconnection is not the answer when it comes to childhood cancer. The real answer is connection and awareness that spread through communities so that these children have a voice. So, these kids are not an afterthought for pharmaceutical companies and government funding. We must dive into the community and stand with the children and families that are going through some of the hardest days of their lives. I know that I will continue to fight for these kids and support them in any way that I can. I hope that you can join me on this journey and help me give these kids their childhood back.
Courage isn’t the absence of fear, courage is facing your fears and walking through them. So, let’s all walk through this together—if you are open to a conversation on how we can team up, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on LinkedIn. I look forward to having you join us on this path to helping power cures and realize futures!