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September 26, 2008

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Families, caregivers, charities and research groups across the United States are observing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In the U.S., over 12,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year, approximately 3,000 of them will not survive the disease. A diagnosis can turn the lives of a family upside down - days suddenly filled with alternating moments of courage, frustration, boredom, anxiety and pain. The objective of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is to put a spotlight on the types of cancer that largely affect children, survivorship issues, and - importantly - to help raise funds for research groups working towards cures (links below images). Here are a few recent photos of families, all dealing with childhood cancer in their own ways. (19 photos total)

"You're gonna be brave, right?" "Right." Diana, age 5, and her father share a moment before she receives her weekly dose of chemotherapy through a port in her chest, January 10, 2007. Diana has Wilm's Tumor, a cancer of the kidney that typically occurs in children. (© Kendrick Brinson)

Victor Naeve, age 13, plays a piece he composed called "February" on the piano he just chose for himself at Boston Piano and Organ in Natick, Massachusetts. He discovered he had cancer in February 2007 and that's when he wrote the song. Victor chose a piano as his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Bay State Chapter of the foundation grants the wishes of about 340 kids every year with the help of hundreds of volunteers. (Michele McDonald/Globe Staff) #

A 5-year-old Iraqi boy named Hussein poses at the King Hussein Cancer Centre in Amman, Jordan on August 19, 2008. Hussein, who is suffering from leukemia, is one of the few Iraqis to have had the chance to travel overseas for treatment as there is a scarcity of health facilities in Iraq, officials at the Cancer Centre said. (REUTERS/Ali Jarekji) #

One of a group of children from the contaminated Chernobyl region of Ukraine takes in a view during a respite from their medical appointments in the Boston area on July 10, 2007. They were given donated trolley tours and lunch at the Top of The Hub restaurant After the Chernobyl accident, thyroid cancers went up 1,000 percent in the affected region. Based in Boston, the Chernobyl Children Project USA arranges medical care in the U.S. for children suffering from a wide variety of ailments and places them with volunteer host families during their stay. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff) #

Caroline Bridges, a 21-year-old Boston University junior, is battling leukemia as well as college courses. She receives her last chemotherapy course - an eight-hour ordeal - at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts on November 11, 2007. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff) #

Nathan Gentry, age 6, sits by a window overlooking New York City traffic on September 8, 2006. Nathan's mother: "We were in NYC consulting with the doctors there after Nathan's second relapse. He had much treatment in NYC in previous years and LOVED the city. He died about 10 months after this picture was taken. Part of the reason I treasure this photo is I can see his feet. I spent hours rubbing those feet while he had a very painful treatments." (© Susan Gentry, who asked for a link to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation) #

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry tells Andrew MacKinlay, 15, of Norwell, that he is an inspiration before the start of the Pan Mass Challenge on Saturday, August 2, 2008, The PMC is a fundraising bike-a-thon for cancer research through the Dana Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund. MacKinlay is a leukemia survivor and is the youngest cancer survivor riding in the PMC. (Christine Hochkeppel for The Boston Globe) #

Lukas MacDonnell, aged 11 months seen on his mother's lap the day before his brain surgery (craniotomy) to remove a tumor. Lukas was diagnosed with a Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in November of 2007, and has since had 6 rounds of heavy chemotherapy, 13 rounds of direct beam radiation, 1 stem cell harvest, 1 adrenal gland tumor resection and the craniotomy. Though he lost his sight because of the tumor, he was declared NED (no evidence of disease) July 3rd 2008, and will continue scans for the next year. (© Heather MacDonnell, who asked for a link to the A New Year of Hope Foundation) #

Tanner Onder meets with his favorite rock star Nikki Sixx of the bands Sixx A.M. and Motley Crue. The backstage meeting was arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who arranged for Tanner and his family to fly to Denver, Colorado to see the concert on July 25th, 2008. Tanner: "While on stage, Sixx A.M dedicated my favorite song, 'Life is Beautiful' to me, as being a cancer survivor, Life is indeed BEAUTIFUL!!" (© Lisa Onder) #

AJ Piniewski, age 14, shares a moment with his sister during his last month of treatment for Burkitt's lymphoma in late 2007. AJ's Dad: "AJ was a happy, healthy, athletic young man starting high school. He was diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma on Father's Day 2007, and left us on January 5, 2008. He is forever our son and brother and we love him and miss him more than words can describe." (© Bob Piniewski, who asked for a link to the People Against Childhood Cancer) #

Iraqi Lara Kilany, 19, who is suffering from leukemia, smiles at the King Hussein Cancer Centre in Amman, Jordan August 19, 2008. Like many Iraqi families who came to Amman to treat a family member with cancer, Lara's family sold its belongings to provide expensive treatment for their daughter who now needs a transplant. (REUTERS/Ali Jarekji) #

Ryan Reardon, age 8, helps Michael Andrews and Jerry House present the David Ortiz Red Sox jersey at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on Thursday April, 17, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. Ryan and Jerry are patients at the hospital and Michael is the Chairman of The Jimmy Fund Division of Development & The Jimmy Fund.(Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff) #

8-year-old Raul Matthew in a quiet moment the day after his 3-month old sister, Myla, was was admitted to begin chemotherapy for an aggressive form of cancer known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia on November 9, 2007. Myla has been in remission since May 19, 2008. (© Raul A. Mosley, who asked for a link to Myla's blog) #

Julian Avery, age 4, sits in a quiet moment at a playground in November, 2007. Julian passed away January 19th, 2008, a victim of a pediatric brain tumor. (© Mimi Avery, who asked for a link to the People Against Childhood Cancer) #

Larry Theriault, so excited to be one of 32 chosen Jimmy Fund patients headed for spring training to watch the Boston Red Sox on Monday March 3, 2008 in Boston, Masachusetts. (Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff) #

Owyn Law, age 3, has a brain tumor and is getting palliative care services at home while also getting treatment that may help shrink his tumor. He and his mother play in their home playroom, in Dudley, Massachusetts on October 4, 2007. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff) #

Diana, age 5 (also seen in the first photo at top, with her father) lies in an operating room, sedated, awaiting surgery to remove a port used earlier for her chemotherapy treatments. Photo taken July 27, 2007. (© Kendrick Brinson) #

Diana is seen being stitched back up, post-surgery, on July 27, 2007 (© Kendrick Brinson) #

Photographer Kendrick Brinson: "Seven months after her initial emergency room visit which led to the discovery of a tumor in her kidney, a surgery to remove the diseased organ, radiation and six months of chemotherapy, Diana sits in her father's pickup truck in the hospital parking deck ready to leave the children's hospital as a disease-free 5-year-old." (© Kendrick Brinson) #