Bear with Me

bearwithme_edited-1I was a nurse for 29+ years and have loved the opportunities that I had to care for children with cancer during that time.  Knowing the role of a nurse and what an emotional toll childhood cancer takes on children and their families,  people would often ask, “How can you care for these children?” The truth is that I never wanted to do anything else.

WorldwideDuring my time as a nurse, I discovered several truths: (1) Many people are not aware of the large number of children being diagnosed with cancer until they have a child that receives the awful, and surprising  diagnosis. Today, each and everyday, 43 children will be diagnosed with cancer.  (2) Childhood cancer is not as  rare as most people think it is. Worldwide, close to a quarter of a million children will get cancer each year.  Many children are being diagnosed with thyroid, kidney, and brain cancers that were formally known as “adult cancers.

pinkbaseball_edited-1As someone who has been very closely involved with precious children being treated for cancer and watching what their families have to endure, it has angered me that so many companies have items that promote breast cancer awareness and other diseases, but seem to ignore the number one disease killer of children.  I am also angered that baseball teams do pink on Mother’s Day for breast cancer and blue on Father’s Day for variety of men’s cancer conditions but overlook childhood cancer and it’s gold ribbon especially in September.

Awareness is needed for childhood cancer just as it was needed for HIV Aids, and Breast Cancer.  It is the awareness that will eventually lead to the funding that is so desperately needed for pediatric cancer research. If people were fully aware of the plight of children with cancer, I am sure the National Cancer Institute would be spending more than 4% on pediatric cancer.

bearcure_edited-1Many times when a child is diagnosed or in treatment, friends and families don’t know what to do, so they send  or give them stuffed animals, mostly bears.  The child gets attached to his bear and it goes wherever he goes.  It provides comfort. Sarah Chana Radcliffe, M.Ed., C.Psych. Assoc said, “A teddy bear can provide comfort through hard times. When a child suffers a loss or when he or she is feeling BearWhy_edited-1fearful or upset, the inanimate object has the power to soothe and comfort. The animal “looks” as if it understands and cares, which allows a child to feel supported while he or she is all alone.”

Additionally, a bear for childhood cancer awareness would be a bear that could be purchased for children to provide comfort during their treatment or a family could purchase to honor a child that has lost their life to the monster known as childhood cancer. No kid can fight cancer alone and with the recognition that a bear or “special friend” can be so important to children during 2014-04-18 10.48.26 amtheir treatment for cancer, I decided  to do something. In order to improve awareness, and to benefit children with cancer, I started a petition and Facebook page (so far, we have shipped 350 bears to kids). I want to appeal to a company to manufacture a childhood cancer awareness bear. If you have not already done so, please sign our petition by clicking on the  photo to the left. As of March 30, 2015, we only need 750 more signatures to reach our goal of 20,000!

BearMarket_edited-1If they made an awareness bear, companies that profit from the sale of stuffed animals could do themselves a big favor and also help children with cancer at the same time.  I believe they don’t realize the profit potential in having a childhood cancer bear. Potential manufacturers may only be looking at the annual diagnosis rate. They may not even be aware that there  are over 40,000 children undergoing treatment now and there are 400,000 survivors in the United States alone! Can you imagine how many bears could have been sold if they were available at the time of diagnosis?  If they offered bears in blue, pink, yellow and brown, each with a beautiful gold ribbon, think of how many they could potentially sell?   A lot of kids would want to own all of them. The possibilities are endless!

Author: Lynne Stieflerbounceballauthor

Editor’s Note: Lynne is an unusual person. She has no children or grandchildren with cancer, but she is totally involved in helping them. She even shaved her head for the St. Baldrick’s cause on April 19th, 2015, at Mickey Finn’s in Victor, New York! This was her seventh year in a row!   Thank you Lynn for all you do for children with cancer.

LynneStiefler_edited-1

This entry was posted in Cancer, Childhood Cancer, Pediatric Cancer, Rare Disease and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Bear with Me

  1. Lynne Stiefler says:

    The interesting aspect to me has been the variety of places that are represented on the petition and wish that my knowledge about geography was better. However, according to the way the petition classifies things there are signatures from several United States that they list as a country which means that it has reached 46-50 countries (depending on the classification system).

    SIGNATURES ON MAY 20, 2014: 9538

    COUNTRIES THAT ARE REPRESENTED (according to change.org classification):

    1. Albania
    2. Argentina
    3. Australia
    4. Belgium
    5. Belize
    6. Brazil
    7. Bulgaria
    8. Canada
    9. Chile
    10. Columbia
    11. Costa Rica
    12. DominicanRepublic
    13. Estonia
    14. France
    15. Germany
    16. Greece
    17. Guam
    18. Honduras
    19. India
    20. Indonesia
    21. Iran
    22. Ireland
    23. Israel
    24. Italy
    25. Korea
    26. Kuwait
    27. Lebanon
    28. Mexico
    29. Morocco
    30. Namibia
    31. Netherlands
    32. New Zealand
    33 Norway
    34. Pakistan
    35. Philippines
    36. Portugal
    37. Puerto Rico
    38. Romania
    39. Saudi Arabia
    40. Serbia
    41. Singapore
    42. South Africa
    43. Spain
    44. Sudan
    45. Switzerland
    46. Turkey
    47. United Kingdom
    48. United States
    49. United States Minor Islands
    50. United States Outlying Islands

  2. Annette Musgrove says:

    I’m praying that everyone who reads will sign. Won’t you please be a part to help our children to have all that they need in research, medicine, staff, equipment & all that is needed for our children’s families to be a part of their treatment so that there won’t be any kind of hardships for anyone.

  3. Denise Stanton says:

    I love this this idea!! My daughter was diagnosed with Hypodiploid Pre B Cell ALL on July 4, 3014 and has since had a bone marrow transplant as her only chance for survival. I just thought about the Haribo Gummi Bear company to sponsor a gold bear for childhood cancer awareness. Their website says they are the home of Gold-Bears, the original Gummi Bears. This seems like a perfect fit if they would be interested. Maybe a joint effort between Haribo and Build-A-Bear?

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