Today was filled with children greeting us- Best day ever! To see healthy children living their lives fully is a bliss for me to see.
The riders started off from Lethbridge this morning. Weather was very windy & I know they were using all their core muscles to stay on the road. The winds were from the side. These kind of windy days give the riders a real workout (more than normal). Can you imagine cycling 200k with winds coming from all directions? Well they do it…rain or shine. Wind or sun. They don’t complain….we all know that the worst day on a bike is always still better than the best day for a kid living with cancer.
Anyways, I digress…..back to the children. As we were approaching the community of Grassy Lake Saskatchewan, we saw a whole strew of children on the side of the road holding up their own hand made signs of encouragement for the riders. What a wonderful surprise! They held their signs high & they ran after the riders as they arrived! They were laughing & prancing about like kids should be! It was a beautiful sight. Not all kids have the chance to prance about & be a normal child. All children that endure cancer treatments lose a lot of their childhoods. A typical child facing leukemia faces between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years of treatment (males take a year longer due to the probability of cancer cells hiding in testicles). They miss school, they miss their friends, their social lives & they learn to grow up very fast. They face years of finger pokes, blood tests, bone marrow tests, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, lumbar punctures under anesthesia, surguries for a central line, x-rays, ct scans, MRI’s, multiple oral drugs…there is more but you get the gist….
Side effects are another aspect that people don’t realize are a part too, but they are real & they are nasty. Anemia, constant mouth sores, nausea, vomiting, low blood cell counts & lack of immune systems, spurts of aggression caused from meds, diarrhea,constipation, fevers, skin sensitivity & rashes to name a few. Many even get pneumonia & pancreatitis- nothing nice. These kids don’t complain either- they just take it & take it! Now imagine if that was you- do you think you could handle all that? Children lose their childhood for a good period of time. Some lose it forever. We need to change this- that is why I am here. I met some survivors yesterday but I can’t say that for all the kids!