My Daughter's Cancerversary

BY SKY KHAN

sky@ilikeu.com

Our daughter Kiki was diagnosed with cancer two years ago today. Since then, our family has been touched with an incomprehensible outpouring of love, generosity and moral support from family, friends and even strangers. We are so grateful for all of you and we have learned so much along the way.

1. How to find the courage to face your fears

2. How to work as a team to overcome challenges 

3. How to trust

4. How to appreciate and maximize small moments

5. How to throw on a superhero cape to help you feel brave

Kiki’s journey began on 9-9-14.  Two years ago today, we sat in the hospital and were told it was cancer. Something we could not possibly comprehend the meaning of.  Today, she is still on active treatment and will remain so until she turns 6. But her cancer is in remission, she is full of joy and energy, and today, Kay attended her first day of Kindergarten. While she will only be attending part-time this year, she will have some normalcy back, and for that we are so grateful.

Our family has been so touched and so blessed through this ordeal that to mark Kiki’s cancerversary this year and every year going forward, Kiki and our family are committed to finding ways to pay forward the love and support we’ve received from all of you in a meaningful way.  Some of the activities we’ve planned so far:

1. Visit MSK every year on Kiki’s birthday to help another cancer kid celebrate their birthday 

2. Restock the MSK IV room treasure chest of toys once a year

3. Establish an end of treatment bell at MSK, similar to the ones that ring in the halls of several UK hospitals when a child reaches end of treatment 

4. Write a book about childhood cancer and publish it

Besides being the month of Kiki’s cancerversary, September also marks Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Childhood cancer research remains chronically under funded and relies heavily on private donors and private foundations to fill the funding gap.  As perspective, less than 4 percent of the U.S. National Cancer Institute's cancer research budget is allocated to childhood cancers. And pharmaceutical companies fund 60 percent of adult cancer drug development while the number is close to 0 percent for kid's cancer drug development. Zero!!!

To help this cause and increase awareness of childhood cancers, our family is also organizing a blood drive this month. This September, consider a blood or platelet donation to help the many children in need of regular blood and platelet transfusions as part of their treatment.

In NYC visit www.mskcc.org/blooddonations — All blood types are acceptable. You can make an appointment and donation in Kay's name through the manager of the blood donor program Joe Licata at licataj@mskcc.org. Friends outside of NY, will you consider looking up a local pediatric cancer hospital and give a donation in our family's name?

We so appreciate you joining us in raising awareness for pediatric cancer. We could not have traveled this road without you. You are amazing. Deep bows, Sky Khan