CRESTVIEW — Memories of childhood stay with us all of our lives. It should be a time of innocence with no stress or worries except to play and be loved by nurturing parents. When life changes abruptly we have no choice but to be brave with every ounce of strength and hope within us.
The families of Molly Callahan and Katie Mitchell know too well the journey through the dreaded “C” word which changed their lives forever.
At age two, just weeks shy of their third birthdays, both were diagnosed with childhood cancer in the middle of winter, but two years apart. Molly, now 10, and Katie, now 8, received over two years of chemotherapy for the most common childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
In the 1950s almost every child with ALL died. Today over 90% of children with the most common form survive. There are still types of ALL and dozens of other pediatric cancers that have far lower survival rates; some with 0% survival. The National Cancer Institute gives only 4% of its funds for childhood cancer research. Donations to other great organizations to help to fund research to find a cure is desperately needed. Every penny helps to get closer to finding a cure for childhood cancer.
No family should ever have to experience childhood cancer. The entire family suffers through the horrors of treatment for a child to have a chance at life.
When life rearranged their childhoods they were blessed to have a top rated pediatric oncology center at Sacred Heart Pediatric Clinic and Hospital in Pensacola for treatment and to support their parents. Having local treatment enabled extended family, co-workers and friends to stand by each family.
Today Katie and Molly are healthy, happy, active, and successful students at Antioch Elementary School. They fought to not only survive, but to thrive! During September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness month Molly and Katie shared their stories on the school’s morning show and participated in other Go Gold activities.
Let us work together to make the dream of a day where every child can be promised a cure a reality.