Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (#CCAM)

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and if you LIKE us on Facebook, you know that each day we are posting childhood cancer facts in the hopes of raising awareness and teaching our audience some things they may not have known before about the 12 major branches of this disease.

It's not too late to join in so please, visit The Jedediah Thomas Smith Foundation on Facebook and LIKE our page to learn something new every day.

We will also be featuring some amazing childhood cancer focused organizations and individuals during this month. You don't want to miss it.

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Part of what JTSF is doing is shedding some light about the quickly evolving history of cancers (particularly childhood cancer). The first documented case of childhood leukemia was found in 1860 in Germany. 

"In children, leukemia was most commonly ALL - lymphoblastic leukemia - and was almost always swiftly lethal. In 1860, a student of Virchow's [a German researcher and the father of modern pathology], Michael Anton Biermer, described the first known case of this form of childhood leukemia. Maria Speyer, an energetic, vivacious, and playful five-year-old daughter of a W├╝rzburg carpenter, was initially seen at the clinic because she had become lethargic in school and developed bloody bruises on her skin. The next morning, she developed a stiff neck and a fever, precipitating a call to Biermer for a home visit. That night, Biermer drew a drop of blood from Maria's veins, looked at the smear using a candlelit bedside microscope, and found millions of leukemia cells in the blood. Maria slept fitfully late into the evening. Late the next afternoon, as Biermer was excitedly showing his colleagues the specimens of "exquisit Fall von Leukamie" (an exquisite case of leukemia), Maria vomited bright red blood and lapsed into a coma. By the time Biermer returned to her home that evening, the child had been dead for several hours. From its first symptom to diagnosis to death, her galloping, relentless illness had lasted no more than three days." 
- Excerpt from The Emperor of All Maladies, A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee 

It has been 153 years since Biermer's discovery. We have made amazing strides towards fighting childhood cancer (mostly in the last decade) but we are not nearly far enough.