July starts with some little-known facts: the most common fatal disease for children is cancer, a sobering statistic that unfortunately holds true in most of the world’s nations, including the US, where childhood cancer is more deadly than cystic fibrosis, pediatric AIDS and diabetes, put together.
In the US, it’s estimated that one in every 330 children under the age of twenty will develop some form of cancer. Like Hayden – pictured here – many children are diagnosed & require treatment at a young age.
For Hayden, he was four in 2008 when a persistent stomach ache landed him in the hospital, where he was diagnosed with advanced neuroblastoma – a childhood cancer originating in the nervous system, but sometimes appearing in the neck, chest, and as you may have guessed, the abdomen.
Easily every parent’s (and kid’s) worst fear realized, Hayden’s diagnosis & treatment options were made even more difficult by the fact that neuroblastoma requires high levels of radiation therapy and a special lead-lined treatment room, which only five facilities in the US had at the time, all far from his home in Cresson, Texas.
Fast forwarding to 2012, after undergoing a series of treatments in New York and California, Hayden is now cancer-free (!) and back in Texas, receiving his post-treatment follow up at Cook Children’s Medical Center, the amazing Fort Worth-based medical facility and pediatric cancer center, which became even more amazing recently when it added a neuroblastoma treatment room to its cancer-fighting arsenal, so kids like Hayden can get better closer to home.
While neuroblastoma makes up only a handful of the twenty-thousand inpatient & outpatient pediatric cancer treatments Cook Children’s accommodates each year, and while Hayden is one of the many thousands of incredibly brave & resilient kids who undergo treatment there, they are both very big reminders to us to help in our own way.
As such, moving forward, Hari Mari will double its pledge to pediatric cancer, contributing $6 for every pair purchased during the month of July to help children & families obtain treatments & medicines vital to their fight, partnering with Cook Children’s in the month-long initiative we’re calling Flops Fighting Cancer.
And, if you don’t wear flip flops, Hari Mari’s not leaving you out in the cold this summer. Feel free to donate directly to Cook Children’s cancer center here. So, whether it’s with a new pair of Hari Mari flops or your own direct-to-Cook’s donation, you’re helping great kids like Hayden beat & overcome pediatric cancer.