I met him in the playroom at Mission Hospital in May of 2007. My son was at Mission due to complications from pneumonia. Paxten was there for chemo. Or something . . .
Paxten and I soon became friends. He was frequently in the hospital and I would visit him on Wednesday nights while my children were at church. I'd have around 45 minutes to hang out with him. We played with stickers and playdoh, talked about Ben Ten and Spiderman, and played with his toys, navigating iv tubing and hospital bed limitations. He learned early on that I had to leave at a certain time and as that time drew near, he would distract me from looking at the big clock on the wall. We laughed at his shenanigans, he begged me to stay longer next time, I promised I'd try.
Not quite a year later, his hospital days were over forever. Today marks eight years since my little friend Paxten Andrew Mitchell passed from this life to the next. He was 3 years and 7 months old.
Paxten's dad once told me, "They could find a cure to pediatric cancers, but there isn't enough research done. That's partly because no one wants to talk about kids getting cancer. The thing is, though, that if they would talk about it, awareness would increase. When awareness increases, so does funding for research. When research increases, cures are found."
Research. It really is the solution to the unthinkable.
There are lots of ways you can be a part of that solution. Two great charities I recommend are Saint Baldricks and Cure. Both of these organizations work to fund research and to provide cutting edge equipment to pediatric oncologists. Check them out. Every contribution matters.
If you can't contribute financially, there are other ways you can make a difference. Talk about children with cancer (by far the majority survive and live full lives). Remember, cancer is not contagious. Our kids won't catch it just because we talk about it.
And hey! Just by reading this post, you've increased your awareness. Share it with friends, and you've multiplied that awareness.
What other ways might we join in the effort to find a cure for pediatric cancer? Because a cure must be found. The alternative . . . well . . . it's unthinkable.
Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.
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