December: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” can be heard on many radio stations, and those who know me know that I couldn't agree more. Christmas really is my favorite time of the year, hands down. There’s the magical excitement for kiddos, the cheerful moods the holiday season brings, all of the pretty lights and decorations, baked goods (let’s be real, all the sweets are a blessing as I am a big sweets girl), and, most importantly, spending time with friends and family.
Let’s expand on that last part a bit further. When it comes down to it, the holidays really are about spending time with your family. For children, it’s about not only that, but all of the magic that comes with it, like baking cookies for Santa, and trying to stay up waiting for him to come only to end up falling asleep on the couch instead. In reality, there are so many children that do not get this normalcy, and instead have their own, completely different ‘normal’. Many families are spending their Christmas at the hospital; many are also spending theirs without a loved one. And let me tell ya, it doesn’t get, too, much easier as the years pass by.
When I was in 7th grade my step dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Burkitt’s lymphoma. It was a long, hard battle, but he won. Fast-forward to my junior year of high school to when he is diagnosed with a different type of blood cancer, caused by his chemotherapy from his first go around. This was an even longer battle, with a lot more complications and mysteries along the way. Come July 15th, 2016, he lost his fight. He was always more concerned about others throughout his time sick. Often after returning home from his treatments during the second cancer, he would comment on the dramatic increase of children in the cancer wing of the hospital. He would say, “It really just doesn’t discriminate against age. Anyone can get it, and those kids shouldn’t be going through this.” No one should, though, if you ask me.
Additionally, it’s often more complicated and also more expensive to treat children that are sick versus adults. This is why Dance Marathon exists: to end childhood illnesses and injuries. So that one day, all kiddos, and their parents, will ever have to ‘worry’ about around Christmas is whether they made the nice list and if they will be getting that beloved toy they asked for, not to mention eating all of the sweets their little hearts desire!
With Christmas also comes the hope of the future with the New Year right around the corner, however, for these families, more questions and worries appear than one could imagine. Enjoy Christmas with your loved ones, but I encourage you to just simply think of all those thousands that do not get the pleasure of spending it at home with theirs because of bigger issues at hand. One day, childhood illness will be cured, and these kiddos and their parents will get to enjoy the holiday season as they should.
But until then, we continue to be inspired by, fight, and dance for the strongest heroes anyone could imagine.