DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the young warriors and families fighting their battle with cancer.
“Cancer is the number one disease that kills children in this country,” said Dr. Jeff Tamburin, Medical Director of Dothan Pediatric Clinic.
Injuries are the number one cause of death in children but cancer is the number one disease state that causes death in children.
“43 children a day in this country get diagnosed with cancer so the prevalence is about one in 285 children in this country will have some form of pediatric cancer,” Tamburin said.
One of the 43 children a day that was diagnosed when she was a young child is Lillian Messenger, who also goes by Lilly.
“I am a childhood cancer survivor and advocate,” Lilly said. “I had Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis.”
Lilly’s cancer was a very rare form; however, according to Dr. Tamburin, the most common form of cancer in children is leukemia.
“One out of eight children will not survive childhood cancer, but on the positive side, seven out of eight will survive,” he said.
Lilly considered herself lucky to be one of the positive statistics of childhood cancer.
“I am so thankful, even though that is like an awful thing to go through, but I am so thankful that that happened to me so that I can be where I am now,” he said.
Lilly is a recent Dothan High graduate and is going to college with the hopes of becoming a nurse. This November, she will be celebrating 10 years of remission.
“So, about one in every 200,00 children develop LCH each year. It doesn’t just go away, you know you might, just because like I’ve been in remission, some of my side effects are still there. But it’s not just the smaller kids it’s the bigger kids,” she said.
Gold is the color of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so wear it and rep your gold ribbons to show support. Through awareness, a cure can be found.