A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘Oprah! Please Do a Show on Childhood Cancer’

Oprah’s Last Call

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

I received a message on Facebook today from a lovely lady named Suzie, and she told me about Oprah’s “Last Call.”

Suzie… you know I had to… thanks for informing me:)

Dear Oprah,

I do have a dream.

What I dream of is an end to childhood cancer. While I recognize that there is no way to accomplish this in one show, my heart searches for the words to explain to you the enormous impact you could have in the lives of children and their families for years to come. The impact from this one show would be felt throughout the world, throughout time.

My dream begins with “HARPO-Hook-Up” bringing together a team of experts on childhood cancer to educate your audience.

Some daunting facts: childhood cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease for children in our country. When children are diagnosed with cancer, 80% are at advanced stages, compared with 20% in adults. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society appropriate a tiny portion of their budgets for childhood cancers. For children who survive, 2/3 will face serious health consequences as a result of their treatment. For some children, surviving cancer treatment is just the beginning of a new nightmare. Many families are left emotionally and financially devastated.

What I dream of is awareness. What I dream of is an assembly of passionate people– outrageously intelligent scientists, brilliant doctors, and childhood cancer organization personnel who will speak together at a big table (yes, like Mr. Trump’s big table!)

What I dream of is a huge surprise for the doctors, scientists and children…BIG funding for a cure. Awareness is the huge beginning obstacle, but what needs to follow to make my dream a reality is a large donation of money for childhood cancer research. The biggest and best surprise of all would be adequate funding to build the BIGGEST & BADDEST Childhood Cancer War Machine ever built. We do not have a day to waste. There are 40,000 children fighting cancer in the United States this moment.

My dream is to win the war against childhood cancer.

Please Oprah… let’s fire up the Tank and start blasting.



Burr Under Your Saddle?

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Do you ever feel like you need a large dose of reality to keep your life priorities in order? Just in case you do… or maybe even if you don’t think you do, I know where you can receive a swift, long-lasting dose.



There are so many stories. I guarantee your heart will not want to read the stories. I guarantee it will be hard and heartbreaking. I guarantee if you push yourself through it and truly take in the meaning of these stories, your life will receive a huge Gift of Life Prioritization.

“Aniel French received his wings yesterday and we found out his closest friend Alex Brown is waiting to receive hers… their bravery and faith is and was unfailing and an inspiration to all that knew them, including their doctors and nurses.”

This, my dear friends, is the world of childhood cancer.

Imagine being a child, fighting the horrific disease that is cancer– and on top of it all—losing your closest friend to the same dreadful illness.

… and we get a Burr Under Our Saddle when we have to “do chores.”

Right about now, I am thankful I am able to do chores.

And you? Be truthful.

Do you need a Life Prioritization Gift to get that Burr out from under your saddle?

Go ahead. Click. Read. Be moved. Cry. Be changed.

Don’t you just know we all have so much more to give than we are giving?

I do.

Nine Boxes of HOPE

Facebook/ Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dear Ms. Katie Couric

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery


Dear Ms. Katie Couric,

There is great hope abounding.

Tremendous news travels fast! The news that you have shown even a speck of interest in the story of 54,000 people asking Oprah to do a show on childhood cancer is like a brilliant ray of sunshine and hope. I will search for the words that will express exactly how I feel…

I wonder how we, in the United States of America, can be so wrapped up in Meaninglessness that we are blind to the most vulnerable and weakest among us. I wonder how we tolerate the injustice of pharmaceutical companies turning their back on the development of new therapies for children with cancer— for the sole reason that they cannot make a profit. I wonder how we can stand quietly watching while the largest of our nation’s cancer fighting agencies allocate only a pittance to childhood cancer.

I wonder why there are not enormous “Armies” coming to the rescue to fight the #1 disease killer of children in our country.

I wonder why people know so little about childhood cancer that children are dying as a result.

Finally, I wonder what the effects would be if someone, like you, would open and broadcast the World of Truth of how grossly overlooked and underfunded childhood cancer is.

Like others, you are probably shaking your head and asking, “How can this be?”

I don’t know how, but it is, and we need to change it now.

I cannot close without adding that the “story” behind this story needs to be told. I speak of Christine who was inspired by her friends, Deliece and her son—both fighting cancer. Imagine a friend so loving, so caring, so dedicated, that she would gather an Army of over 50,000 people to fight for friends… to fight for a cause… to fight for children who cannot speak for themselves.

They cannot speak for themselves… because they are too busy fighting for their lives.

Ms. Couric, your attention to childhood cancer will without a doubt save lives. This is what we are all reaching for… with everything we have…

The children need your heart. I pray you will give it to them.

With my sincere gratitude,



Alexis Wants us to Find A Cure!



Facebook/Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery





A Salute to General Christine and Mr. Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Oprah…

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Just kidding! That really was my last letter yesterday. Now, we play the waiting game. What do you think? Will HARPO Studios respond?

Today, I want to bring to your attention the administrator of the Oprah Please Do A Show On Childhood Cancer Facebook Page. I call her General Christine, because in just a few short months, she has gathered together over 50,000 voices for childhood cancer all in one spot. She calls us “Army.”

Thank you, General Christine, for your hours and hours of effort to create a united force of passionate advocates for childhood cancer. Thank you most of all for your tender heart that opened wide when you saw the huge need. Thank you for using your talents and gifts to give straight from your soul. Thank you for keeping the Army of Soldiers positive, engaged and enthusiastic about working toward our common goal.

Little did I know what I would have missed if I had not been active with Facebook when General Christine began assembling the Troops!

I need to thank Mr. Mark Zuckerberg for creating Facebook. I held off longer than anyone I know before I finally created a page– for the purpose of connecting with other people whose lives have been touched by childhood cancer.

Mr. Zuckerberg, you have forever changed my life. The gratitude I have for the friendships I’ve made, and the opportunity I have to link together with those of similar passion, is priceless. When you created Facebook, I imagine you had no idea that it would be a Tool for change for children with cancer. Your creation is a blessing.

Mr. Zuckerberg, one more thing… will you please consider a donation to childhood cancer research as a member of The Giving Pledge?

Sorry… is it wrong to genuinely thank someone and also ask for something in the same letter?

My hand is in saluting position for General Christine and Mr. Zuckerberg. It has been quite the mission. Let there be an answer and please let it be the one we are all praying for.

Stop Childhood Cancer

Golden Canisters of Hope

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dear Oprah,

As I write this, nine Golden Canisters of Hope are on their way to you and your producers. There are over 50,000 people hoping, praying, and waiting for your response. Please let your answer be, “Yes!”

Please Oprah, do a show on childhood cancer.

You would think that if children were suffering anywhere, there would be brigades of rescuers who would show up. Yet, the smallest, most vulnerable of our world do not receive this blessing. The naked, ugly truth about childhood cancer is that it is virtually ignored.

I have been “Tapped.” Have you ever felt that God has called you to a mission? You see, I have this gratitude for my life that bubbles over… lives are precious, precious, precious… the love we have been given to share is everything. With this great gift and blessing of my life comes responsibility.  

God has spoken to me, “Show me Melinda. Show me your gratitude.”

There is no greater way for me to show Him how Great He is, and how grateful I am, than to do what He has put before me to help children with cancer.  Although this is my last letter to you, I will continue to do what is before me with ever-growing passion.

I guess that when you answer the nine Golden Canisters of Hope, this will be the same answer for my Make-A-Wish. Yes, the girl who wished for you to do a show on childhood cancer is me.

Once more, I am not asking to be on the show. I will admit that it would be thrilling beyond my wildest dreams to sit in your audience and watch this show happen. Please give me a bit of notice if you respond positively… I will need to find a sponsor… Kleenex!



16 Year-Old Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery


Golden Canisters of Hope on their way to HARPO Studios

Lives That Matter

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dear Oprah,

With 52,000 people sending letters to you daily, asking for a show on childhood cancer, I imagine that you must be Statistic-ed to a pulp by now. I have no doubt that our group has succeeded in informing you of how overlooked and underfunded childhood cancer really is. I have nothing left but to appeal to your heart.

I know a boy who battled cancer for years. He lost one of his legs. All of his teeth rotted out of his mouth from years of chemotherapy. By the time he turned eighteen, he could not take the pain any longer. He ended his own life.

I know a seven year-old boy who died on Thanksgiving Day in his mom and dad’s arms. He had fought brain cancer… and at the same time, he inspired thousands of others to give to pediatric cancer research.

These are real children with lives that matter.

Our society is ignoring these children. We look off to the horizon, rather than noticing the suffering at our very own feet.  I love that our nation has money to send to far-off lands when there are global disasters.  I would like to add that childhood cancer is a national and global crisis that requires our equal attention.

Please help bring attention to the global crisis of childhood cancer,


16 Year-old Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Little Angels-- Lives That Matter




Word Are Just Words

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dear Oprah,

By now, your producers must be befuddled as to why I keep writing each day to ask you to do a show on childhood cancer. Words are just words. Words cannot do anything for children who need our help. Words can’t do anything to bring back children who have died. Words won’t stop children from being diagnosed with cancer.

Words are just words.

If my words could take the form of my feelings, then my words could open the heavens. God’s healing Hands would reach down to instantly heal each of His hurting children. I wish, I wish, that life here worked that way.

Since it doesn’t, I will continue putting together words…  I pray for the words that will reach out and touch your heart. I pray for the words coming from the mouths of those tiniest ones who have never known anything but pain. I pray for the words coming from the mouths of the brave, courageous children who suffer silently, with gentle smiles to let others around them know that everything will be okay. I pray for the words from the parents and siblings who have lost the loves of their lives.

I pray for the words that will bring rescue.  

Please help bring awareness… this will lead to funding for research… which will lead to a cure.

It’s true that words are just words– what I am really typing are feelings from deep in my heart.

Please toss a life-preserver to childhood cancer,


Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Sweet Baby Girl... Children depending on us to help them

Courage Despite Grief


Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dear Oprah,

In my daily letter on this day, I ask you once again to please do a show on childhood cancer. I have read each of the stories posted on the Oprah, Please Do A Show On Childhood Cancer Facebook page since it was born in early September last year. I don’t know how anyone can read the stories and not take action in some way. It seems our society has become lazy, self-centered, and selfish. We wait for others to do what we can do ourselves. We busily pursue our own agendas… turning away from those who desperately need our help.

I know people who have not turned away from the daunting challenge of working toward a cure for childhood cancer. These people are the opposite of lazy, the opposite of selfish. The people I am speaking of are heroes to children with cancer—they are parents who have lost their own child to cancer and still fight on for others. They have created organizations that raise money for research and also help families through the financial/emotional struggles of childhood cancer. I would LOVE to see you feature these heroes on your show. Funny, after I wrote that last sentence, I heard a voice telling me what these heroes would say in response.

They would say that their heroes are the children fighting cancer.

The truth is, Oprah, children fighting cancer need tons of support—medically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I don’t know what we would do without the individuals who have created Layla Grace Foundation, People Against Childhood Cancer, Alexa Nawrocki  Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Kids V Cancer, Children’s Cancer Association,  Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and I know there are more. I cannot express how much I admire these people, not only for what they are doing for children with cancer, but for their courage in taking huge leaps to assist children with cancer in the midst of their grief.


Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher

 Be back again tomorrow,



AJ and his Dad, Bob... one of my heroes




Land of Suffering

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dear Oprah,

This is Melinda again, with my daily plea, asking you to do a show on childhood cancer. What I have discovered is that the topic of childhood cancer seems to be some sort of taboo. No one wants to look at it, no one wants to talk about it, and as a result… no one knows about it.

Oprah, since no one knows about it, and no one talks about it, children are dying who don’t have to die. When children are diagnosed with cancer, 80% have advanced stages of the disease. The lack of awareness for childhood cancer is startling when you compare this fact with the fact that only 20% of adults have advanced stages of cancer when diagnosed. Imagine– you can close this gap by educating your audience.

Just ONE new drug has been approved to fight pediatric cancer since 1980. In that same period, 50 medications were approved to fight adult cancers.

The National Cancer Institute divided its $4.6 billion budget: breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7% and all 12 major groups of pediatric cancers COMBINED received less than 3%.

We are failing our sick children in this country BIG TIME. Please help set the wheels of HOPE in motion.

I just cannot stop asking. I can’t stop trying because I know there are many, many children out there who would love to ask, but their suffering makes it impossible, or their angel wings have taken them far, far from this Land of Suffering.

Still asking,


16 Year-old Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Cure Kids Cancer!



Hero Braden


Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Dear Oprah,

Today, in my daily letter, I want to tell you about one of my heroes. His name is Braden Hofen and he is six years old. Over three years ago, on Halloween night, Braden’s mom and dad took him to the hospital. Although he was ready for Trick-or-Treating, dressed as Woody along with his brother, Zach, as Buzz, he was crying and didn’t feel well. His parents thought the problem might be his asthma. After a chest X-ray revealed a small gray shadow, the medical staff sent Braden home the next day, with iron drops. They believed Braden’s problem was an enlarged liver due to a virus and lack of iron. His parents were vigilant in following up on his problems with doctors, yet they faced doubt with their calls and questions– until they returned to the ER in December. The new X-ray revealed a mass that was pushing Braden’s small organs. The mass was stage 4 neuroblastoma. Doctors missed Braden’s diagnosis in October—this meant Braden’s cancer secretly advanced. The Hofens do not blame doctors for this.

Want to hear something that will give you chills?

That same Halloween, my mom took me to a specialist (after months of doctor visits to search for what was wrong with me) who examined me and told us I did not have cancer. After “vigilant follow-up,” like the Hofens, my cancer was discovered a couple months later– the same December as Braden’s.

This story of missed diagnosis repeats itself over and over.

We need awareness.

We need funding for research

We need less-toxic, targeted therapies that cure without leaving life-long devastating effects

My six –year old buddy, Braden, has inspired thousands of people to join together to speak for children with cancer and work for change. How can we, when we see this sweet boy just wanting to be a boy, not do all we can to see that he and others have HOPE?

Braden is fighting for his life.

Please help open the floodgates of care and compassion by doing a show on childhood cancer.

My thanks,


16 Year-old Author of Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery


Hero Braden!






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