I always knew I was destined to be a Rockstar. I mean with a last name of ‘Rocker’ how could I not? But I thought it would have been in reference to performing - you know singing or dancing, generally being on stage somewhere. How was I supposed to know that I would want to become a ROckstar not to perform but to support a cause? To become a different type of Rockstar who is even more amazing than the ones followed by paparazzi? Maybe I should back up a bit for you…
I am a huge music fan. I will listen to any and everything…including country. Last week I had been viewing my timeline on Twitter and kept seeing all these tweets about ‘Ronan’ by Taylor Swift and I was like “Who is that?” Now I admit to being a Taylor Swift fan. I’ve always liked her because she’s relatable. A beautiful girl with a beautiful soul. Let me tell you something, after finding out what (or who rather) ‘Ronan’ was about, I more than like that girl - I effin’ love her! I went to handy dandy Google and typed in “Ronan Taylor Swift”. Holy Mother-effer. SO many hits! But I clicked on one of the first ones which led me to an article from an Arizona newspaper about Taylor writing a song about a young boy who lost his battle to cancer after reading about it on his mom’s blog. ‘His mom’s blog?’ I thought. Hold on. Stop. Rewind. Let’s go look: www.rockstarronan.com I was greeted IMMEDIATELY by the most amazing and intense pair of blue eyes I had ever seen in my entire life (and I’m a sucker for pretty eyes) set in the absolutely cutest face ever. His name? Ronan Thompson. His last year on Earth? Written in painstakingly, brutally honest but always ALWAYS loving words by his mother, Maya. I read the most current post on her site but it only helped to make me more curious and despite the tears I felt building, I started from the beginning. I had to. For the past 2? 3? days, I have been reading every single post whenever I got a free moment. I laughed. And I cried. Oh did I cry (note to self don’t read this blog at work). His mom? She made it onto my list of people I consider my heros right under my parents. Maya is awesome - strong, courageous, honest, dark, sarcastic, random, fierce, REAL. I want to give her a big hug through the computer all the way over the in Arizona and tell her she’s going to make the biggest fucking difference in this (currently) one-sided fight against childhood cancer. Because that is her mission now - The Ronan Thompson Foundation where she and her husband and her “Busy Bees” are determined to allocate all funds donated to their cause to the places that need it most - RESEARCH. Finding a cure. So no parent has to go through what her family has.
Reading her blog has alerted me to a lot of things that I never ever knew and something that should be shouted from the rooftops! I’ll write some here but for the rest (and simply because you should!) you should check out her blog or hell just google the following: childhood cancer, neuroblastoma, childhood cancer statistics, childhood cancer funding. I promise you the information will rock your world.
- First up: Did you know childhood cancer is the number one killer of children? 1 in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20. 2300 will die from it every year. While it may be declining, it is still a major problem. Especially when the only people who know, are the ones affected directly by it.
- Did you know that there are next to no drugs made specifically to treat childhood cancer? Only 2 have been approved for pediatric use. Cancer in adults is different to cancer in children in many ways, namely being that a childhood cancer is more aggressive than one in an adult - 80% of children have metastasized cancer at their time of diagnosis. That means by the time doctors catch the tumor, it has already spread. Doctors have to be just as, if not more, aggressive in treating it. Unfortunately, the drugs being used were made for fully developed adults. Not yet-to-mature children. Another note to add to that: the symptoms of cancer while varied due to location/nature of the tumor, can also resemble symptoms of regular childhood illnesses like the flu which also makes it difficult to catch early.
- In 2007, approximately 10,400 children under 15 were diagnosed with cancer.
- There are 12 types of childhood diseases, which all combined, received 3% of funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) while breast cancer and prostate cancer research received 12% and 7% respectively.
- The American Cancer Society spends less than 70 cents for every $100 raised on childhood cancer.
If reading those didn’t get you a little upset…did you know September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? I didn’t. I’ve never seen a commercial or flyer or ANYTHING to promote awareness for this! But I bet you know when Breast Cancer Awareness Month is and what color their cancer ribbon is. Not to take away from those dealing with, recovering from or has lost someone to breast cancer. I’m just stating the discrepancies occurring right now. The same discrepancies Maya Thompson and her merry rocking band of Ronan Rockstars are fighting to change. I’ve decided that I’m going to do what I can from this end even if it’s just to sign a petition or donate because it is just UNACCEPTABLE that the health of our (YOUR) children DO NOT rate first priority in cancer research and funding.
So thank you Taylor Swift for being the beautiful soul that you are and writing such an amazing song that got a fan (all of your fans - WORLDWIDE!!) to research who you were talking about which led me (all of us) to…Maya Thompson, one of the strongest women I don’t know personally but feel for virtually. I know, reading your posts, that you take up this fight not for you, but for your ‘not spicy’ Rockstar…Ronan. Always Ronan.
Links - Maya’s Blog: www.rockstarronan.com;The Ronan Thompson Foundation: www.theronanthompsonfoundation.com; National Cancer Institute (Childhood Cancer page) www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/childhood; People Against Childhood Cancer www.curechildhoodcancer.ning.com/; American Childhood Cancer Organization www.acco.org/Information/AboutChildhoodCancer/ChildhoodCancerStatistics.aspx; St. Baldrick’s Foundation www.stbaldricks.org/file/get/f/a8df34fa-45c7-455e-a858-1492416c917c/n/PressKit2012_HQ_082812.pdf/; One Mission Pediatric Cancer Research www.onemission.org/hwhResearch.html