Friday, August 31, 2012

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Tomorrow, September 1, marks the beginning of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. So, for the month of September, I will be changing to color of my blog from green to gold.
Some Childhood Cancer facts (courtesy of Candlelighters
  • Every year in the US 13,400 children (ages 0-19) are diagnosed with cancer. That equates to 46 children a day.
  • Another way to approach this number: 1 in 330 children will get cancer.
  • Childhood cancer is the leading cause of disease related death.
  • About 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer will die as a result of their cancer.
  • Over 60% of those who do survive suffer moderate to severe complications, including infertility, diabetes, heart disease, and secondary cancers.
  • The most common childhood cancers are leukemias, followed by brain and CNS tumors.
  • The average age for a childhood cancer diagnosis is 10 years old.
  • 80% of children has a metastic cancer (meaning the disease has spread and is therefore harder to treat and survive), as compared to 20% of adult cancer patients.
Now some facts about childhood cancer research and funding:
  • While the NHI allocates 5.6 billion dollars to cancer research yearly, only 100 million goes to Childhood Cancer.
  • The American Cancer Society uses only 1% of it's money towards pediatric cancer reasearch, while using 21% of it's funds for fundraising, and another 7% on administration.
  • Over 90% of Childhood cancer drugs are adult cancer drugs that were reapproved for children. They are usually an afterthought of approval.
  • This year, President Obama signed the Creating Hope Act into law, allocating additional funding to companies persuing pediatric cancer research.
Now, my plea:
A common saying in the childhood cancer world is that when a child has cancer, the entire family has cancer. This couldn't be more true. Parents, siblings, grandparents and friends are all affected. A child with cancer often misses a year or more of school, setting them back academically. They are also separated from friends and family for long periods of time. Childhood cancers are often more aggressive than adult cancers. Childhood cancers are also usually diagnosed later, as there are very few screening tests, and even fewer are availible. Syptoms os childhood cancer are also syptoms of other childhood diseases, such as headaches, bruises, frequent colds and fevers, limps and soreness, or frequent nosebleeds. These diseases (over 50 different types) are horrible. We need a cure!
What can you do to help?
  • Spread awareness. Tell everybody about childhood cancer. Nobody wants to hear about dying kids. Too bad. You can't escape the reality of childhood cancer. The more people who know and are fighting for a cure, the better chance we will find one.
  • Donate to a childhood cancer research organization, such as CureSearch or St. Baldricks.
  • Wear Gold to support the kids.
  • Volunteer your time at a pediatric hospital or with a childhood cancer group.
  • Donate coloring supplies, gas/grocery cards or other day to day nessecities to families affected by childhood cancer.
  • Participate in a Childhood Cancer awareness event, such as a St. Baldricks festival or a Curesearch walk.
  • Learn more about childhood cancer.
  • Write to your representative in government to tell them how important it is to support pediatric cancer reasearch.
Thank you for supporting childhood cancer!
learn more at these websites:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Teaching Children

So, Saturday marked my last day at my job (swim teacher/lifegaurd) until I come home in December. That means that I had to bid all of my students farewell :(. So, in honor of all that I have learned from teaching, I have compiled Steffi's list of tricks to teach small children (in no particular order).
  • Get down to their level: kneel, sit or crawl so that you can look them in the eye.
  • Make them learn when they think it's only a game. This is the best learning. Kids love to play games.
  • Get creative. Use their imaginations.
  • Remember their names and things about them. This helps you bond with your students and gets them to trust you.
  • Talk to them. Ask them about their favorite colors and things to do.
  • Be happy. Laughter, fun and joy are all contagious.
  • Don't be afraid. Be calm. Don't show fear.
  • Be safe (duh).
  • Listen.
  • Mix it up. Repeat skills. Don't do the same exact thing weeek.
  • But don't mix it up too much. Routines are good, and they help kids remember.
  • Care about what you are doing. To you, this might be just a job. But little kids remember the little things. You are the difference between them dreading their lessons, or not being able to wait to get started. You make a difference in their lives.
As Gandhi says, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Sometimes baby steps are the way to start. Everyday, if you can put just one more smile in the world, the day has been a good one. Swimming lessons are a baby step. But maybe I have inspired a child to teach, to learn, to try something new or just made them happy. And that is something that makes my job worth it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting Ready for College

Even though August has just begun, school is coming soon. I leave for college in less than a week, and I am super excited. Class schedules and textbook prices fly through my head daily, and my list of needed supplies dwindles as I spend my paychecks on school supplies. So, happy school supply shopping to everybody!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Books of July

Some more interesting books I've read in July:
Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese
Shadow of the Titanic by Andrew Wilson
Time Machine by HG Wells (a classic in sci-fi). In this same catagory: 20000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
A movie, and a little dated (also rated R): "Children of a Lesser God".
More to follow. happy reading!