70 GoodLifeFamilyMag.com MARCH APRIL 2016 goodHEALTH Cancer A Word Full of Hope My brother was 24 a recent graduate of Texas AM living in a bachelor pad in Dallas with three of his best buddies when a friends mother a nurse noticed the enlarged lymph nodes in his neck giving him a Frankenstein appearance. A subsequent work up at the doctors office revealed suspicious lung nodules on his chest x-ray and the next year and a half became focused on Matts treatment for Stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma. It was a very long road but Im happy to report that after a stem cell transplant he has remained in remission and is now happily married with two beautiful children in Austin. He beat the odds. By AliciaWanek Chances are it has touched you somehow. A relative. A friend. Maybe yourself. It seems every week theres a Facebook post that a friend knows someone else diagnosed with cancer. A cancer diagnosis becomes the marker by which a persons life is definedlife before cancer and life after diagnosis. Its a scary word but today it connotes courage healing and hope more than ever before. Cancer is a disease that can affect almost any part of the body and fortunately there are specialists and organizations to treat almost any type. Resources in the way of referrals information support groups and research studies abound. Locally the Dallas office of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society LLS makes it their mission to fight all blood cancers and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Their mission hit home for me. And if it seems to you that more people are taking on cancer and winning youre right. Consider this Thirty years ago half of all children diagnosed with any cancer would not survive but today that survival rate is as high as 80. In 1977 the five-year survival rate for leukemia was just 34 in 2010 it was over 60. Though Libby Kaczmarek Community Relations Director for LLS and Brittney Bannon Development Director for the Childrens Cancer Fund CCF remind us that cancer still remains the number one disease-related killer of children in the U.S. and takes over 250 lives worldwide every day. Its one of our biggest fears as parents right That our children will get a serious illness Every day 46 children will be diagnosed with cancer. Brittney reports For the 1 in 5 courageous children who lose their battle to cancer the average age of death is 8 years old. Sadly despite these heartbreaking numbers all pediatric cancers combined receive less than 4 of federal funding for cancer research. The CCF specifically aims to help these young patients. Through their fundraising efforts they have raised over 7 million in the last 30 years while working with Childrens Medical Center now Childrens Health where currently 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer is treated and UT Southwestern Medical Center to fund research a child life specialist position specifically for children with cancer and blood disorders and programs to investigate the long-term effects of chemotherapy and radiation in children. The challenges children face are different from those of adults and pediatric cancer patients in Dallas Fort Worth are fortunate to have CCF fighting for them. The goal for any organization supporting cancer patients including CCF is survival. EARLY DETECTION IS KEY Frequently the number one factor in survival is getting a diagnosis before the disease has progressed too far. For my brother it all started with a simple in-office chest x-ray. Thankfully today for the newly diagnosed patient the availability of specialized radiographic images can pinpoint the location of the Childrens Cancer Fund Gala Chairmen Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman with young friend Hayden Ritchie. The April 22nd event includes a childrens fashion show where pediatric cancer patients and survivors all escorted by celebrities steal the spotlight. All proceeds go toward advancing research and treatment programs in pediatric oncology. Thirty years ago half of all children diagnosed with any cancer would not survive but today that survival rate is as high as 80.