CureSearch – its focus is kids

Published May 7, 2014 at 6:04 am (Updated May 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm)

The word “cancer” is surely the most hated word in our society. It’s a devastating illness and we feel helpless as the nightmare continues when we hear about so many children who suffer because of it,

“At 3 years old, my daughter Sydney was looking so pale and she seemed to be tired and sick so often and seemed to be getting weaker. She would go from one illness to another,” said Karin Hawk of Bridgeville. “A visit to the doctor for a low-grade fever and sinus infection quickly had my husband and I on our way to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh with Sydney. She was immediately admitted, and treatment for Philadelphia-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia began the next day. I can’t explain the horrible feeling that took the breath out of me, and I never want anyone to experience that horrible feeling.”

After 10 days, Sydney came home to be with her family. Three days later, she was rushed back to the hospital with a severe pseudomonas infection. There, she stayed for four and a half months. At such a young age, she wasn’t steady on her feet, she had to learn life’s basics all over again, to eat and swallow and she even needed speech therapy. After a month a home, she continued in-patient chemo treatments for three more months. Today she’s in remission, but will continue outpatient chemo until summer of next year.

“I learned about CureSearch from the nursing staff at Children’s after Sydney’s leukemia diagnosis,” Karin said. “I want no one to feel the pain and suffering my daughter had to endure. Although treatments and progress are in the works, more research and testing is necessary. CureSearch has provided me with contacts for cancer information and has been a great support system.”

To help raise awareness of the 2014 CureSearch Walk for Children’s Cancer and to raise funds to fight childhood cancers, Karin Hawk and Emily Friday of Peters Township plan an Inaugural Kick-Off Cornhole Tournament with refreshments and vendors on May 10 at the Harbor Pavilion in South Park. To get there from Corrigan Drive, turn on Maple Springs. Team check-in begins at 10 a.m. followed by the Cornhole Tournament at 11 a.m.

Fee is $30 per team. Nonplayers are welcome.

Proceeds will support the effort to reach the day when every child with cancer is guaranteed a cure.

The mission of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer is to conquer childhood cancer in our lifetime through research, education and support of cancer patients and their families. The 2014 Pittsburgh CureSearch Walk is set for Aug. 23 at Schenley Park. To learn more, visit www.curesearchwalk.org.

CureSearch

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer got its start in 1975 by Dr. Abdel Ragab, the first pediatric oncologist at Emory University in Atlanta. Although funding was lacking, he saw the need for an oncology research program and support programs for families facing childhood cancers.

With the founding of CureSearch, funds were made available to help pay for a microscope to diagnose various types of childhood leukemia. Soon after, support was provided for training nurses and caregivers of children with cancer. In 1981, a research lab was established on the Emory campus. From a temporary facility, a new outpatient clinic opened in 1987 and a fully-equipped Childhood Cancer Research lab in 1989. As a result of Cure, new therapies and drugs continue to be tested.

Childhood Cancer

Pediatric cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the U.S. The American Cancer Society reports that every day, 42 children are diagnosed with cancer and the average age of diagnosis is 6. In the past 40 years, the overall survival rate for children’s cancer has increased to nearly 90 percent. But, 60 percent of these children suffer painful late effects such as secondary cancers, muscular difficulties and infertility.

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