OPINION COLUMNS

Spotlighting cancer, fighting for the cure

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, September 8, 2012

Each October, a “pink” mentality inundates our civic service opportunities. Events like Paint the Town Pink, Race for the Cure and fundraisers to sponsor local participants in 3-Day for the Cure walks in the Metroplex give us opportunities to show our support in the fight against breast cancer.

Whether we do or not, there’s no denying the significance of the pink folded ribbon, validating the marketing efforts of the organizers.

Erika Pedroza

Erika Pedroza

While their success is commendable and I wholeheartedly support the group’s work to eradicate the disease, there is a plethora of other ailments that don’t get noticed the way breast cancer does.

The pink campaign began with the unwavering efforts of a devoted, determined sister and flourished with a swarm of supporters.

As a granddaughter missing her Lita, who lost her battle with lung cancer in 2007, a cousin aching for her 19-year-old loved one fighting bone cancer for seven months, and a reporter in awe of those – old and young – who battle the various other types of cancer, there’s a burning desire to do my part to advocate for the lesser-recognized, but equally devastating forms of the disease.

In a continuing effort to raise awareness, the Messenger will feature the stories of these brave children, women and men. At the very least, we’ll try to put a face on the disease – a face you may recognize as a classmate of your child, the man who responded to a grass fire in your backyard or a woman you passed at the grocery store.

Each month, we will run stories of those battling cancers highlighted that month. September spotlights Childhood Cancer.

In the past year, I wrote features on 4-year-old Brennan Griffin and Carly Berkley, 3, both of Chico, and their struggles with a rare bone tumor and medulloblastoma, respectively. Fortunately, both are past the most challenging chapter in their stories, living as normally as possible.

After a summer trip to Disney World, Griffin started school this fall. With the exception of speech therapy (a small hole in his palate from his second surgery makes it hard for him to say some words), Griffin follows a normal routine.

Although Berkley patiently waits for the radiation to “work in overtime” on the tumor, the family received good news earlier this month when MRIs came back showing improvement. She expects to start the special education program at Bridgeport ISD within the next month for physical, occupational and speech therapies.

A special thanks to their mothers, Brandi Hicks and Michaela Hood, for sharing their stories and keeping us updated.

If you or anyone you know is willing to share their story, give us a call at (940) 627-5987 or shoot me an email, epedroza@wcmessenger.com.

Otherwise, show your support, and let’s see where we go.

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