PARENTING
09/15/2017 11:15 am ET

These Are The Faces Of Pediatric Cancer

These brave fighters' stories are heartbreaking and inspiring.

“Your child has cancer.”

Every two minutes, a parent somewhere in the world hears these agonizing words.

Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children past infancy in the United States. Yet only four percent of federal funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers. And the current presidential administration has proposed cutting $1 billion from the National Cancer Institute’s budget.

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we reached out to the families in the HuffPost Parents Facebook community whose lives have been touched by pediatric cancer and asked them to share their children’s stories. 

Continue scrolling to see 55 photos of young cancer fighters, read their stories of strength and courage and understand why kids battling pediatric cancer deserve #MoreThan4. 

  • 1
    "Daisy was diagnosed at 9 months old with neuroblastoma. She had four rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and nasty in
    Chloe Upton
    "Daisy was diagnosed at 9 months old with neuroblastoma. She had four rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and nasty infections! She's now 2 years old and currently in remission!"
  • 2
    "Emmitt was diagnosed at 14 months with stage four high risk neuroblastoma. He relapsed in his brain December 2015 and recent
    Carissa Young
    "Emmitt was diagnosed at 14 months with stage four high risk neuroblastoma. He relapsed in his brain December 2015 and recently just finished treatment six months ago. He endured a long two years of pain and treatment that no kid should ever have to go through, but he conquered it and is an amazing 4-year-old who is living his life to the fullest each day."
  • 3
    "Jessen was diagnosed with stage four high risk neuroblastoma. He had six rounds of chemotherapy, five surgeries, a stem cell
    Melanie Whelchel
    "Jessen was diagnosed with stage four high risk neuroblastoma. He had six rounds of chemotherapy, five surgeries, a stem cell transplant, radiation, and antibody treatments. He stayed a happy kid through it all, and he is so amazing. He is now three years post-treatment but still has to go for follow-up scans and appointments twice a year because of the high rate of relapse."
  • 4
    "My son, Benjamin, was diagnosed with leukemia on Dec. 31, 2009. He endured over three years of treatment, which saved his li
    Alethea Jo Mshar
    "My son, Benjamin, was diagnosed with leukemia on Dec. 31, 2009. He endured over three years of treatment, which saved his life, but damaged his bladder, caused him emotional trauma, and resulted in lower IQ. We are grateful beyond words for his life, and saddened by the years of hardship and physical cost to him. We need to do better, Ben is one of the lucky ones, he survived."
  • 5
    "My sweet girl Ellie. Diagnosed at 4 months old with a brain tumor. 28 rounds of chemo, 42 days of Radiation, and 17 surgerie
    Sarah Walton
    "My sweet girl Ellie. Diagnosed at 4 months old with a brain tumor. 28 rounds of chemo, 42 days of Radiation, and 17 surgeries. She passed away at just 4 years old only seven months ago."
  • 6
    "Our son, Mason, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 2. Throughout his treatment he always kept a s
    Nikki Kleman
    "Our son, Mason, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 2. Throughout his treatment he always kept a smile on his face and worried about how other people were feeling. Children don't show shame in being sick nor do they stop living. They fight, play, cry, laugh and continue being children. He is our hero and happy to say he completed treatment on Dec. 27."
  • 7
    "Izaiah, age 7, was diagnosed Feb 14, 2017 at age 6 with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Philadelphia-Like and CRLF2.
    Justeen Trillas
    "Izaiah, age 7, was diagnosed Feb 14, 2017 at age 6 with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Philadelphia-Like and CRLF2. He was flown three hours away to Seattle Children's Hospital. He's currently in remission since March 2017. He's still undergoing treatments of chemotherapy as we speak. Hope to be able to go home in end of September or beginning of October and return once a month for the next three years for more chemo and doctor visits. He has 30 percent chance of relapse but has done amazing through all of this. We pray he continues to keep being a warrior that he is."
  • 8
    "Our sweet Joseph was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 11. Eighteen months of emotional rollercoaster ensued as w
    Sheri Huettner Sellars
    "Our sweet Joseph was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 11. Eighteen months of emotional rollercoaster ensued as we did chemo, non-stop inpatient stays, remission, Make-A-Wish, relapse, bone marrow transplant (which involved intense chemo and full body radiation and conversations about what he wanted to be done if things went poorly), fungal infections, bacterial infections and ultimately a virus that took root in his lungs and would not let go. We turned the machines off after four weeks being on it, just after Christmas, Jan. 10, 2007. He was 13 when he died. I have since gone on to become a nurse, hoping to return to the world some of the good it lost when Joseph died. I miss him every day and try to honor him every day in some small way. I kept/keep a grief blog called After His Death. It helps. He is happy and peaceful in this picture simply because he had high enough blood count to be allowed fresh fruit. Little things came to mean a lot."
  • 9
    "I'm going to share the side of cancer you won't see in St Jude commercials. This is Joe, our little warrior. He was dia
    Jacqui Silvani
    "I'm going to share the side of cancer you won't see in St Jude commercials. This is Joe, our little warrior. He was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma in June 2015. Here, he's in the midst of his first stem cell transplant. He's so swollen he can't close his mouth, bleeding from severe mucositis, and sleeping 22 hours of the day so his body could heal. This is one of the only photos I took of him during that time. The photos I did not take, those of his skin burned from the inside out, so delicate that the tape you see holding the tube into his nose left gaping wounds when they needed to be changed, those are the images that will be burned into my head for ever. Our children deserve SO MUCH better than this."
  • 10
    "My beautiful daughter Becky was diagnosed in July 2011 with high grade glioma (brain tumor on the brain stem). She had six w
    Julie Bell
    "My beautiful daughter Becky was diagnosed in July 2011 with high grade glioma (brain tumor on the brain stem). She had six weeks of radiotherapy and three months of chemotherapy, but sadly none of it worked and because of it been on the brain stem it could never be operated on. On 20th January 2012 my world was ripped apart when my princess fell asleep forever, she was only 7 years old with her full life ahead of her. We are all missing her so much. The pain never goes away."
  • 11
    "Declan David Fish was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor the size of a softball on May 23 of this year. He spent his second b
    Erin Fish
    "Declan David Fish was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor the size of a softball on May 23 of this year. He spent his second birthday in the hospital and is still undergoing chemotherapy treatment through the end of this year. Cancer has changed our lives forever. We will never take another day for granted or skip past the opportunities to support research. These kids and families endure so much pain and sickness that you can't know until you are in it. I ache for my son and all of the other kids daily."
  • 12
    "My son, Pierce, was diagnosed with a rare subtype of acute myeloid leukemia in April. At the time, our daughter Sierra was 4
    Aubrey Kelly
    "My son, Pierce, was diagnosed with a rare subtype of acute myeloid leukemia in April. At the time, our daughter Sierra was 4, and our daughter Harper was 4 and a half weeks. Cancer forces you and your family to adapt, bend, and challenge beyond comprehension.  Pierce had two rounds of intense chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant. His donor, his angel, is from France; there was no match for him in the U.S. Since one in 420 people is registered on BeTheMatch (the U.S. Bone Marrow Registry), I am proud to say that our family has registered over 650 since Pierce was diagnosed. Pierce walked out of Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) cancer free this past Tuesday.  Since April 7, his journey included 115 days in-patient, going under 14 times, 31 platelet transfusions, and 15 blood transfusions. As one of the families who we be-friended on the oncology ward of CHLAl: You Bloom where You're Planted."
  • 13
    "Our daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at 2.5 years old. She has been a super warrior throughout the entire treatment time
    Jordyn Osmond
    "Our daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at 2.5 years old. She has been a super warrior throughout the entire treatment time. She ended treatment a week after her fifth birthday on May 28, 2016. Reese never complained through the hospital stay, chemo, transfusions, or medicine. Despite everything, she was happy being a kid. This photo was taken on the day of her last chemo."
  • 14
    "Gavin was 12 years old when diagnosed with pre-B ALL on May 5, 2015, completely turning our lives upside down. Our new norma
    Frankie Dubar-Nelson
    "Gavin was 12 years old when diagnosed with pre-B ALL on May 5, 2015, completely turning our lives upside down. Our new normal, while still in treatment for nearly two and a half years, is unplanned hospital stays, numerous planned visits with so many specialists and untold anxiety just to get through each day. Our other new normal is grace, love, acceptance and peace as we have had an army stand behind us every day of this journey... it has been hard, but it has not beaten us. This picture was taken during his last inpatient visit that landed him in the PICU for three days."
  • 15
    "This sweet boy is our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/TeamDustin/?hc_location=ufi" target="_blank">Dustin-credible</a
    Heather Dyer Cannady
    "This sweet boy is our Dustin-credible.. He is a true superhero! Dustin is nonverbal, and lives with autism. When he suddenly quit walking back in Feb 2015, he lacked the ability to tell us what was wrong. A trip to our local ER turned into a four hour drive across state as we headed to Seattle Children's Hospital. Little did we know, Dustin would never return home again. 
    Dustin has been undergoing chemotherapy for over 30 months and still has a ways to go before his treatment is complete. Through out it all, Dustin has fought with bravery and courage. I couldn't be more proud of him and feel so blessed to be his Mom!! This picture was taken during a harsh point in his treatment. He was rocking an adorable bald head and had just begun walking again after a couple of months off of his feet. His shirt says it all. Losing is not an option."
  • 16
    "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. However, since losing our daughter Kelsey at the age of 13 to brain cancer, e
    Lana Hill
    "September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. However, since losing our daughter Kelsey at the age of 13 to brain cancer, every month, in fact every second of every day is Childhood Cancer Awareness for us. Kelsey was the baby of the family and we all protected her fiercely, however, we could not protect her against cancer.  What we could do is help Kelsey fight, we kept her smiling, kept her happy, stayed close as a family through her three brain surgeries (which paralyzed the left side of her body); 31 radiation treatments; six months of intense chemotherapy treatment; five rounds of Cyberknife Radiation; countless blood/platelet transfusions and over 600 needlepokes to her body. While enduring horrible treatments, Kelsey founded Team Kelsey 'to help other children battling cancer.' To this day we host Team Kelsey fundraising events and have raised over $154,000 for childhood cancer research and the Ronald McDonald House. Our family continues to raise childhood cancer awareness through Team Kelsey and share Kelsey’s amazing brilliance, spirit and her legacy."
  • 17
    "My son Hovakah was diagnosed Nov.&nbsp;2016 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He is now 6 years old and started first&nbsp;
    Jessica Hovland
    "My son Hovakah was diagnosed Nov. 2016 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He is now 6 years old and started first grade this fall. He is currently in remission since February 2017 but will need treatment until February of 2020. He's been through 10 months of intensive chemotherapy. This picture is from his first month of treatment."
  • 18
    "My daughter Charley was diagnosed with brain cancer, pilocytic astrocytoma, at the age of 4 months old. She also has a secon
    Heather Howell
    "My daughter Charley was diagnosed with brain cancer, pilocytic astrocytoma, at the age of 4 months old. She also has a secondary neurological disorder, diencephalic syndrome, caused by the tumor in her brain. Charley just turned 4 years old Aug 13. She has had a total of 13 surgeries, seven of those were brain surgery -- two of them being major brain surgery. Her first major brain surgery was Dec 10 2014. Charley was 18 months old and in that surgery she lost her eyesight. Charley is completely blind, but it hasn't slowed her down at all. She is also completely dependent on J-tube feedings. Charley does not take any food by mouth. She is currently on her fourth protocol of chemo. She has had a combined total of three and a half years on chemotherapy. Charley is a ray of sunshine she has touched more people in four years than most do in a lifetime. I am so proud to be her mommy!"
  • 19
    "Our daughter Ava's cancer journey has been a whirlwind of emotions. Just two months before her third birthday, Ava was diagn
    Melinda Kliniewski
    "Our daughter Ava's cancer journey has been a whirlwind of emotions. Just two months before her third birthday, Ava was diagnosed with a Stage two Wilms tumor. She had a complete right nephrectomy followed by several weeks of chemotherapy treatment over the course of 4 months.  We are happy to report that her post treatment scans have been clear.  The picture on the left is from Ava's last day of treatment and the picture on the right was taken on the one year anniversary of her diagnosis. Watching a 3-year-old battle cancer is one of the most inspirational things I have ever witnessed. Ava smiled through it all and never complained.  We can learn so much from these little warriors."
  • 20
    "This is Alfie. He was diagnosed with ganglioneuroblastoma at aged 3 and a half. At 5 and a half,&nbsp;he was diagnosed with
    Shelley King
    "This is Alfie. He was diagnosed with ganglioneuroblastoma at aged 3 and a half. At 5 and a half, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. He's now 15 and is currently being treated for his third relapse against this evil disease. This picture was taken on his last day of radiotherapy on Thursday. Through this terribly long journey Alfie has always had a smile on his face. He has shown me strength, courage, determination and what it really takes to be a true hero... my hero"
  • 21
    "My Kyla, diagnosed with a very rare inoperable brain cancer at age 4. Four unsuccessful chemo combinations from 2011 to 2014
    Amanda Kroells
    "My Kyla, diagnosed with a very rare inoperable brain cancer at age 4. Four unsuccessful chemo combinations from 2011 to 2014 and then radiation for 40 days, which finally stopped the growth. Two years of no growth then re-diagnosed in July 2016 with two new brain tumors. Two unsuccessful surgeries since then, two unsuccessful chemos since then, and now on her seventh chemo type. She has never given up, even though it's really awful."
  • 22
    "Sally was diagnosed with a rare form of infant leukemia in 2013 at 11 months of age. She endured two years of intense treatm
    Matthew Kabel
    "Sally was diagnosed with a rare form of infant leukemia in 2013 at 11 months of age. She endured two years of intense treatment in NYC experiencing broken bones, seizures, a feeding tube and extreme GI issues. She made it through treatment but now has refractory epilepsy, delayed cognitive and physical function and a weakened immune system, all caused by the chemo she received. We had no idea what these kids endure to be 'cured' and how badly research for safer treatments is needed. We're thankful to all of the doctors, nurses and therapists who treated Sally the person, not the patient, and to our 'village' of supporters who continue to be our rock."
  • 23
    "This is Maddox. He was diagnosed with MDS/Monosomy 7 in 2015. In June 2016 he underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow trans
    Jennifer Miranda
    "This is Maddox. He was diagnosed with MDS/Monosomy 7 in 2015. In June 2016 he underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant but relapsed soon after. In July 2016 he underwent more chemotherapy along with radiation and a second bone marrow transplant. He spent his fourth and fifth birthdays at the hospital. We've had various complications along the way and remain in treatment. He's my superhero!!"
  • 24
    "Carson was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at 2 years old. After his intra-arterial chemotherapy failed, he had to have his le
    Brittney Albright
    "Carson was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at 2 years old. After his intra-arterial chemotherapy failed, he had to have his left eye removed. Watching him battle this cancer and touch so many lives by his bravery, sweet spirit, and amazing attitude changed my life. After being introduced to the pediatric cancer world, we know how dark and scary it is and so very underfunded. We have joined the fight to raise awareness so that more treatment options can be available. These children are worth more than four percent."
  • 25
    "My 2-year-old daughter Keaton was diagnosed with ALL leukemia. Love and support is so important. Cancer is a disease that ea
    Stephanie Reid
    "My 2-year-old daughter Keaton was diagnosed with ALL leukemia. Love and support is so important. Cancer is a disease that eats away at anything you allow it to. I've lost myself and continue to try to find myself. My other daughter bears the scars of her sister's diagnosis. PTSD. Anxiety. Depression. Labels just as dangerous as cancer. Unfortunately people think once the cancer is in remission life can get back to 'normal.' Nothing could be farther from the truth. The family still needs love and support because the task of a catastrophic "clean up" is needed. Love and support. That's what my daughter's journey has represented."
  • 26
    "My son Evan, was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) when he was 23 months old, and then he relapsed in kindergarten when he was 6
    Jennifer Kearns
    "My son Evan, was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) when he was 23 months old, and then he relapsed in kindergarten when he was 6. This picture was taken after his second round of all over body radiation to prepare for his bone marrow transplant that he would have. His brother, my oldest son who was 11 at the time, was his perfect bone marrow match. Evan is coming up to his five year post transplant day on Sep. 6. The new normal still takes some getting used to, and the battle scars are there. But day by day and year by year it gets better. and we hope and pray that cancer is in the rearview mirror now and forever!"
  • 27
    "Me at 13 years old. I was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in 2000. Nine months of treatment that resulted in great, lifelo
    Kirby Corbey
    "Me at 13 years old. I was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in 2000. Nine months of treatment that resulted in great, lifelong relationships and priceless lessons learned on how to appreciate life and love those most important to you."
  • 28
    "This is my daughter, Sarah, receiving a life saving blood transfusion on the day of her acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnos
    Molly Goodhart Engedal
    "This is my daughter, Sarah, receiving a life saving blood transfusion on the day of her acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis in Apr. 2016. I remember it as a moment of hope after months of questions and worry. We finally knew what was wrong and while that was devastating, everyone who treated Sarah was so kind and competent. She has one year left in a two and a half year treatment protocol."
  • 29
    "Daxton was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with pre-b acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2016. He has had surgery, lumb
    Angela Bruhn LaRue
    "Daxton was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with pre-b acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2016. He has had surgery, lumbar punctures every three months, IV chemotherapy, and oral chemotherapy. He had an anaphylactic reaction to a necessary chemotherapy that was meant to help kill the leukemia cells. He has been in the ICU for an infection that wouldn't affect anyone with a regular immune system. Daxton has over one year and eight months left of his three-year treatment plan. He will be 8.5 years old before he is done with treatment."
  • 30
    "My 8-year-old son John, was diagnosed on April 10, 2001 with adrenal gland cancer, in most diagnoses, an adult cancer. After
    Paula Crosby-Flake
    "My 8-year-old son John, was diagnosed on April 10, 2001 with adrenal gland cancer, in most diagnoses, an adult cancer. After two surgeries and chemo that was tailored to his 42 pound body, he died on October 9, 2001, six months after diagnosis. John was our middle son, and his death left an unfathomable gap in our family, that almost 16 years later, is still greatly felt."
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