The following was written by Andrew, a cancer patient who currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

There really is such a thing as monsters, and for someone to tell you otherwise would be a foolish thing to say.
Sure, there’s no such thing as the boogeyman waiting for you under your bed, but children are being hurt, traumatized, and robbed of their lives every day. I’m not going to bore you with the startling statistics, nor am I going to drone on and on about the “numbers.” Because, at the end of the day, no one wants to hear that, and at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter until it matters to you.

It never mattered to me.

I was a 14 year-old kid. I was more worried about high school football games and taking Suzy, captain of the cheerleading squad, to the dance. I was focused on getting my learner’s permit, finding a job, and just living life. And then, out of nowhere, the monster showed up at my front door, mouth roaring and claws scratching every inch of reality away from me.

His name is Cancer. He’s relentless, he’s brutal, and he’s a killer.

On October 10, I lost a good friend to this monster. For the past couple of weeks, everyone watched him deteriorate. For the past couple of days, everyone watched him die.
But that’s “normal.”
When this monster grabs ahold of you, and throws you into the world of ports, PICC lines, chemotherapy, MIBG, and countless surgeries, the word “normal” is rewritten.

Because in this world, three-year olds are cut open from the neck down.
In this world, fifteen-year olds spend months on end in a hospital bed.
And in this world, ten-year olds die in the arms of their sobbing mothers.

I’m not asking you to run to your local children’s hospital, climb the stairs to the oncology unit, and be there for the aching parents and children, but that would be awesome.
I’m not asking you to reach into your wallet and donate to someone’s fund, or to research to find a way to kill this beast, but that would be beautiful.
I’m not asking you to sob for the thousands of child-sized caskets that have been topped with hundreds of pounds of Earth, but I am.

In Memory
Jayson Brown
Forever 10

Andrew is from Orlando, Florida, but is currently residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as he receives treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. He can be found here on Facebook.

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