My son was diagnosed with cancer when he was 13 months old. He had just gotten a clean bill of health at his one-year pediatrician checkup. He learned to walk about halfway into the next month. I'd weaned him by 13 months. And just a couple weeks later, on the afternoon of February 15, I discovered a lump.
Throughout my life there have been many numbers of significance. For instance 4 -- the number of children I have had the immense pleasure of being a father to; or the age when my daughter Alex first voiced her desire to host a lemonade stand to help doctors on their way to finding cures for all kids with cancer.
Looking back I don't know if it was the inspiration of a courageous little girl who lived so close by, who was treated at the very same hospital, or our continued commitment in a world where it's hard to keep commitments, but I know that she and her siblings have gotten the message -- "when life gives you lemons, do something about it."
The inaccessibility to health care in Syria is only adding to the death toll of the war. A country that was once envied for its government-funded healthcare system is now only a shell of that, with 60 percent of its hospitals destroyed or damaged, and many doctors exiting the country as swiftly as everyone else.
Times are changing. These kids are fighting harder and longer. Their stories are getting out there because the chemo drugs are not curing kids, but they are extending their lives. People ARE aware of them. Awareness of pediatric cancer is out there. But now we are getting stalled because the movement is not moving.