The American Childhood Cancer Organization reports 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer annually in the U.S. About a quarter of them won't survive the disease. Those who do survive endure treatment and circumstances many adults can't even imagine. September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We hope our readers will honor the occasion by participating in one of these local events.
Three ways you can support local kids during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month:
1. Sign up for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer.
This year's race will take place Sept. 24 at Wheeler Park (1120 S. Western Ave.) with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. St. Jude staff members have developed treatments that have pushed the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened in 1962. The event funds continued research as well as covering the costs of treatments for other families. St. Jude patients never pay for treatment or for the travel, housing or food costs associated with treatment. There are many ways to be involved. Start a fundraising group, join an existing team or simply participate individually to raise money and awareness for St. Jude's cause. See event website for details about cost to participate. Registration starts at 7 a.m., ceremony starts at 8 a.m., 5K run starts at 8:30 a.m. and walk starts at 8:35 a.m.
Even if you don't have time to volunteer at a non-profit, you can support local kids this month by purchasing a raffle ticket in the Make-A-Wish Oklahoma 10th Annual Lexus Raffle. Through Sept. 14, purchase a $100 raffle ticket to support Make-A-Wish as they provide magical wish experiences to Oklahoma children suffering from serious illnesses. Make-A-Wish gives kids with cancer a break from their illness to experience a moment of happiness and normalcy. Your donation will enter you to win one of three prizes: a 2016 Lexus RX 350 provided by Lexus of Tulsa & Eskridge Lexus of Oklahoma City (valued at $48,289), an Apple iPad Air 2 and an Apple Watch Sport.
3. Make a meal for families of children with cancer.
The staff at the Toby Keith Foundation's OK Kids Korral believes there's really nothing like a home-cooked meal. That's why they work hard to coordinate volunteers to create hand-prepared dishes for the families of the pediatric cancer patients receiving treatment at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center, Peggy & Charles Stephenson Cancer Center and other area facilities. Volunteers prepare dinner for families at least five nights a week. To learn how you can volunteer to make a meal, call Jordan Keith at 405-271-6552 ext. 30800 or visit their volunteer page.