February – Apples and Oranges.

***Blog Repost from February 2014***

Apples and oranges.

People say all the time when you are comparing things that are so different that you “can’t compare apples to oranges.”

And that is supposed to make the argument just.

February is Heart Month.

Congenital Heart Disease Awareness month.

The month where you may see hearts about with zig zags through them to signify a broken heart…and a saying about to “Ask for a pulse ox!” or “Ask at your 18 week anatomy scan if there are 4 chambers seen in the heart, if the stomach is on the correct side of the body, if the doctor is able to see the great vessels!”

You may get inundated with these little reminders and then see the pink cheeked kid along with the reminder and think, “CHDs can’t be that bad.  Look at that kid.  He’s doing great.  At least it’s not like cancer.  Now that is bad.”

Apples and Oranges.

I hate – yes HATE – when people say that CHDs aren’t as bad as cancer because the kids can do relatively well.

I hate when people say childhood cancer is not as bad a CHD because at least there is a cure for it.

I hate when the statistic about how funding is 10 times less for CHD than childhood cancer or vice versa is thrown around.

I hate when I hear that CHD occurs in 1 in a 100 lives births (that is a generous saying because well – some never make it to birth).

I’m all for awareness.

I don’t like when we have to compare CHD to childhood cancer to get our point across.

The point being that CHD is a lost illness.  It’s lost in the media, it’s lost in the funding, it’s lost in the conversations of those things that are devastating.

Because it’s apples and oranges, right?

Wrong.

There is a common denominator with these two things – childhood cancer and congenital heart disease – our children.

Our children are suffering.  Our children are fighting battles in hospital beds.  Our children are going through risky and dangerous surgeries.  Our children are taking experimental medications. Our children are dying.

Our children.

I speak so much about CHD because I do not think people are as aware of it as they need to be.  I think the problem is that we may be making people aware of what a CHD  and how it affects me but the muscles behind our stance is weak.

You – my dear blog readers – aren’t truly connected to it like us in the Heartland.

I bet you know someone or you know someone who knows someone that battled cancer or is fighting cancer – maybe an adult or maybe a child.

But, it’s that six degrees of separation that make you connected to the awfulness that is cancer.

And, welp, there is a good chance the first time you heard about a congenital heart defect is when you started following Evan’s story.

And you “know” me – but not really.

You “know” our story – but may not feel the connection to CHD as you do cancer because it’s not a part of your reality.

That’s where we come in.

The Heartland.

That’s where we step in and turn awareness into action.

This is our time to blow up news feeds on Facebook, pin boards on Pinterest, write blogs about their fight – so maybe – just maybe – more of the 1 in 100 – decide to speak up about the #1 childhood killer in the world.

Maybe – a neighbor or a friend or a student in your child’s class – will feel confidence in letting their scar peak out from behind their shirt.  A scar that may not have been shared due to shame, due to fear of judgement, due to lack of education.

Maybe you’ll share our blogs, our status updates, our conversation – and you’ll tell your friend or your kin that is about to welcome Baby to the world – and you casually remind them to “ask them to do a pulse ox” and perhaps it may save a life.

We desperately want to connect with you.

We want our stories to make an impact in your world.

We don’t want to compare our child’s plight to another child fighting cancer because we feel like maybe this is the way our point will come across.

Because cancer is awful.  It takes lives.  It takes spirits. Kids don’t make it.

That’s the truth.

When you see our rosy cheeked children run and play, don’t think that their fights aren’t as awful.  Don’t think that their spirits haven’t been beaten.  Don’t think that their lives may be spared.

Because Congenital Heart Disease is awful.  It takes lives.  It takes spirits. Kids don’t make it.

Apples and Oranges.

Let’s not compare the two any more.

Let one be a reminder to another – that behind the statistics, behind the awareness, behind all the points we want to get across to you – that there is a common thread between the two.

Our children.

Our babies.

And when it comes to that, their fights have no comparison.

 

 

My Warrior

 Evan – February 2015

Comments

  1. My daughter is 1in 100. She is also a Cancer kid. We don’t fit in the apples
    or oranges groups. What does that make me? Bananas. Some days I feel
    like I’m cheering for the wrong team. Both are Evil horrible diseases that
    have taken my baby’s childhood and now are threatening her life. I agree more
    awareness of CHDs needs to be done. But maybe some for us bananas as well. ♡