September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and we're taking the opportunity to honor the brave 13,500 children who are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year (that's more than a classroom of kids a day), as well as advocating for improved treatments and advanced research.
Though cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for American children under 15, this awareness month serves as an opportunity to highlight progress. For instance, under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions or set lifetime caps on essential health benefits.
And these children below help put a face on why these policies, research and advocacy matter. Read their stories and learn how you can help below.
1. This Gleeful Boy, Who Overcame Years Of Chemo.
This happy kid reportedly kept smiling through his battle with cancer and told Reddit how he beat it. One moved viewer wrote, "That kid looks basket-of-puppies happy."
2. Josh, Who Also Tackled Chemo.
And NFL players think they're tough? Josh was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2010, but chemo is just one part of his daily routine. He earned cheers from all over the Internet for his return to the sport he loves in 2012. Check out his fundraising page here.
2. Zach, Whose Song We'll Never Stop Singing.
Zach Sobiech battled a rare kind of cancer for most of his teen years. In his final days, he created a documentary in which he left us with these lovely words:
"It’s really simple actually. Just try and make people happy. Maybe you have to learn it with time, maybe you have to learn it the hard way. But as long as you learn it, you’re going to make the world a better place." Check out Zach's fund here.
3. Alex, Who Sweetened Our Lives With Thousands Of Charity Lemonade Stands. .
Alex Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma before her first birthday. After receiving a stem cell transplant when she was 4, she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money. People all over the world were moved by her story, which helped launch the charity Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. She passed away at the age of 8, but helped raise $1 million to help find a cure for cancer.
5. Talia Joy Castellano, Who Became A YouTube Sensation.
During her six-year battle with neuroblastoma and leukemia, Talia, 13, inspired people with her tutorials and personal blogs about cancer. Talia certainly achieved her dream of becoming a star, even inspiring the entire Internet to fulfill her bucket list right alongside her.
6. When George Bush Made The Executive Decision To Shave His Head For This Guy.
41 shaved his head this week to show his solidarity w Patrick, the 2 year-old son of a member of his security detail. pic.twitter.com/XimZcTwEyi
— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) July 24, 2013
This move was a cut above. Former President George H.W. Bush made an executive decision to shave his head for a 2-year-old leukemia patient whose dad works on his security detail. Learn about how to support Patrick here.
7. Alice, Who Fulfilled Her "Bucket List" Thanks To The Kindness Of Strangers.
Teenager Alice Pyne inspired us with her viral "bucket list" that mixed the whimsical (become a trending topic on Twitter) with the hopeful (that every British citizen sign up for bone marrow donation). Her passing touched off an outpouring of tributes, many of which said she had made the world a better place.