There is a particularly touching tradition in the closing ceremony of Hit the Bricks for Brian, a classic Wake Forest University fundraiser for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Foundation. A silent lap around the quad, during which teammates and friends can often be seen holding hands, followed by a few speeches. After that year’s speakers, under guidance from whoever is in charge that year, we then close our eyes and are asked to say out loud, in our own time, the first names of those we know who have been affected by cancer.
Most people had one. Maybe two.
I would have them memorized.
I had been keeping track in my head, writing lists so no one would be forgotten.
I didn’t necessarily know each one of them personally. But I knew their names, and I knew their stories. I followed the stories that my aunt Tara would post, and I remembered them.
These are important stories.
Timeline-wise, I don’t remember specifics. I don’t know how many there were then. It felt like I was always the last one still speaking. But they waited while I finished my list. I don’t know all the names I said back then. I know all the names I would say today.
Brennan. Patrick. Hallie. Tim. Markell. Mary. Burke. Caiden. Maya. Mya. Corinne. Breanna. Dana. Donna. Rosy. Colin. Zach. Cassy. Erin.
Some survivors, some still fighting, and too many gone. Most of them children. Their photos in tutus and ninja costumes were taken in hospital hallways, often accessorized with bright blue masks.
These are the stories it is now my job to tell. I am honored to be doing the work I do for Press On.
These are important stories.
I love the beginning of Press On’s Mission Statement:
“We’re fighting for campouts, campfires and s’mores. We’re fighting for soccer games and ballet classes.”
These are the things childhood should be about. Not blood draws and wheelchairs. Children shouldn’t have to know what morphine is.
“Press On’s Unique Mission is to IDENTIFY feasible and ground breaking alternative therapies for childhood cancers and to INVEST monies raised in a manner that supports the science and infrastructure needed to CURE childhood cancer within our lifetime.”
I truly believe that with your help, Press On can fulfill our mission. A world without childhood cancer. And with less toxic, more targeted therapies for childhood cancer– where toxicity is often the tipping point for fragile systems– the doors for better adult cancer treatments could be blown wide open. A world without cancer. Can you imagine?
Thank you for letting me share these important stories. Thank you for supporting Press On.
Xoxo + Press On
Communications Manager for the Press On Fund
“Sarah T.” Davis is Brennan’s cousin and self-appointed big sister. She is a Wake Forest University graduate and has been the Communications Manager at Press On since 2016.
P.S. Our goals for ACTION are so audacious they literally cannot be achieved without your help. For the entire month of September, every dollar donated to Press On ~ up to $250,000! ~ will be MATCHED for Target Pediatric AML (“TpAML”), a MOONSHOT project aimed at identifying genomic targets for pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients so that researchers can create specific, targeted treatments. These targeted ~ and consequently less toxic ~ treatments FOR KIDS are what Press On is all about! Please, if you are comfortable doing so, take just a few minutes of your time to DONATE NOW and SHARE today’s blog post on your Facebook page, or share via personal email with friends whom you believe have the passion to help us make a difference.
Thank you for supporting the Press On Fund!