Did you know that according to the National Cancer Institute, the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children is cancer?
This year alone, over fifteen thousand and six hundred children in the United States will be diagnosed with childhood cancer. And tragically, nearly one thousand and eight hundred children will die from the disease.
Chad Ehlers, and his daughter, Mia, are all too familiar with these saddening statistics.
Mia is now three years old, but after turning one, she was diagnosed with blood cancer.
Ever since then, she has been battling leukemia while trying to have a semi-normal childhood. For example, Mia loves playing with dolls and experimenting with makeup.
But, Chad explained how even the beginning stages of a leukemia diagnosis and treatment had an extreme effect on the physical, social, psychological, and spiritual elements of Mia’s childhood.
“Childhood cancer patients and their families go through overwhelming experiences as they exude aggression, anxiety, depression, and communication problems. Moreover, these children and their caregivers have to bear the brunt of going through the current horrendous and inhuman treatment process, treatment complications, and many other care-related problems,” Chad said.
And at Mia’s ripe age of three, she has already been saddled with anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress from her extended hospital stays, physical symptoms, and fear of reoccurrence.
On top of that, Chad and his family have had to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Not only are they now trained to think the worst when Mia expresses she has a headache or slight fever, but they also have to watch Mia navigate childhood– which is supposed to be one of the happiest periods– with a severely decreased quality of life.