Raising awareness of childhood cancer

Car show, pancake breakfast to be held in honor of Garrett

By Beth Harper - For the Record-Herald

Next month our world will be full of pink ribbons supporting mamas and sisters with breast cancer. But before you pull out your pink, stop and consider those gold ribbons for Childhood Cancer Awareness in the month of September.

While many more adults than children are diagnosed with cancer, for a child this disease can be far more devastating. Did you know that every three minutes, somewhere in the world, a parent is receiving the news that their child has cancer? And of those diagnosed, one out of five children will lose their life to cancer.

More children die of cancer in the United States than of any other disease. Childhood cancer is not just one disease, but a group of diseases and generally these are different than those that affect adults.

While new drugs are being developed every day for adult cancers, budgeting is very limited for pediatric cancers. Sadly, only two new drugs have been specifically developed to treat children with cancer in the last 20 years.

Our son, Garrett Harper, was just 15-years-old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. In between high school classes, football games and homecoming, Garrett was having week-long chemotherapy treatments and many surgeries fighting this disease.

Garrett, of New Holland, lost his battle with cancer in August of 2012 after fighting for three years. I wish Garrett was the last child to be diagnosed with a pediatric cancer, but more children are being diagnosed every day.

This year our family and friends are hosting a car show and pancake breakfast in Garrett’s memory. Garrett’s 1954 Chevy BelAir, “Miss Daisy,” provided many smiles during difficult times. We would like to do something to help families who are walking through this battle. We will again be accepting donations for two organizations that are helping children battle against cancer.

The Sam Bish Foundation supports families of kids with cancer here in central Ohio. They provide financial support to kids and parents at a time when it is most needed. More information can be found at www.sambishfoundation.org.

The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Foundation provides funds specifically for osteosarcoma research. Zach and Garrett fought this disease about the same time. Zach wrote a beautiful song called “Clouds,” which became a number one hit on iTunes. According to Zach’s wishes, the proceeds from his songs go into research to benefit other kids fighting this disease. You can hear Zach’s song and read his story at http:www.childrenscancer.org/zach/

This is a broken world. Bad things happen and kids get cancer. When adults get cancer, they will lose, on average, 15 years of life. For a child with cancer, the average loss is 71 years. This month, please consider what you can do to help.

Please join us on Sept. 26th at Grace Community Church to celebrate God’s gift of Garrett and support the fight against childhood cancer. We are hoping for even more classic cars this year. Registration and pancakes begin at 10 a.m. with judging and prizes awarded at 2 pm.

Car show, pancake breakfast to be held in honor of Garrett

By Beth Harper

For the Record-Herald