Today’s blog post was written by Halle, an 11-year-old sarcoma advocate. Halle, inspired by her mother’s experience with sarcoma, has become active in sarcoma advocacy and fundraising. Not only has she traveled to Washington, DC, to speak to Members of Congress, she also coordinated a fundraiser at her elementary school. We have no doubt that you will be as impressed and inspired by Halle as we have been.
I am 11 years old and I am going into middle school next year. I have always known my Mom had cancer. My Mom got cancer in her foot when she was pregnant with me. Now that I am older I see the effect cancer has on my Mom. I see the tattoos, I see the scars and trying not to step on her “bad foot”. My parents didn’t hide the fact that my Mom had cancer but they didn’t discuss it openly with my sister and me. Now that I am older my Mom talks about it more and how it directly affects me. The doctors couldn’t tell her if the cancer was passed on to me when she was pregnant or if it is genetic and my older sister Brooke could have it.
The last couple of years my Mom has become more involved with attending events and meeting others like her. For the last two years she has attended Rare Disease Week in Washington, DC, to represent Missouri for the Sarcoma Foundation of America. This last year I was able to attend with her.
My mom contacted my teacher, Mrs. Scott and my principal, Dr. Casey to tell them why I would miss a week of school. She told them about her cancer, how I played a role in it and what we would be doing in Washington, DC. This was a big move for my Mom as she doesn’t tell people about her cancer. Mrs. Scott and Dr. Casey were wonderful and supportive of my trip.
Not only did my Mom and Auntie Devin (represented South Dakota for Sarcoma Foundation of America) take me to see the sites, we meet others with rare diseases. I meet Congress members and their staff from Iowa and Missouri. Everyone was so nice to listen to my story and my feelings. My Mom said if she gets a chance to attend next year that I will be going. My Mom said bringing me made a big difference. She said that they really listened and I had made such an impression telling my story that she didn’t think people in DC would forget it. They didn’t…I received e-mails, letters and signed pictures from Congress members and their staff. One patient advocate was so sweet and sent me a birthday gift! When I returned home I gave a presentation about my trip to DC.
Dr. Casey said she wanted to do more to help us with sarcoma awareness. My Mom, Grandma, Uncle and I went before the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to tell them about our story. The last week of school we held a “CENTS FOR SARCOMA” fundraiser at our school. Everyone brought in loose change they found lying around. The Sarcoma Foundation of America was so nice to donate bracelets, bags, tattoos and brochures. Classmates I had never met came up to me and asked how my Mom was doing or some would walk by and hold up their arm to show they were wearing their yellow bracelet as a gesture to show their support.
We raised $461.28 for the Sarcoma Foundation of America!! I am so thankful for my classmates, their families and staff at Ravenwood Elementary. I am very grateful to Dr. Casey for her support in raising sarcoma cancer awareness.
I have learned more about my Mom and her experience with sarcoma. I have meet some amazing people. I may have a lot to learn but I know that I will keep raising awareness about sarcoma. To me, raising money for “Cents for Sarcoma” has been the biggest thing in my life to help others.
Want to get involved like Halle? Visit www.curesarcoma.org to learn more about how you can host an event, set up a fundraiser, or become more involved in advocacy.