Monday, September 4, 2017

Raising Awareness: Childhood Cancer and Blood Cancer

In November of 2011, I was pleased to take part in the National Brain Tumor Society Race for Hope in Philadelphia in honor of an amazing little boy named Stephen, who lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 7.  I remember being profoundly touched by the whole walk, seeing families and loved ones come together, celebrating survivors and remembering those lost.  I recall thinking how strong Stephen's family was, how loving his friends were.  I couldn't fathom how they handled something so horrible, how they endured such a tremendous loss.  Little did I know that two weeks later I would find out for myself.  My nephew Joey was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), a deadly form of brain cancer.  He was only 2.  No matter how much we hoped and prayed, GBM was a monster, and it took Joey from us before he could even turn 4.

Joey and The Jersey Momma's Boy at the last birthday party they spent together.

Cancer is a cruel beast, so organizations dedicate each month to an awareness of its form.  There are so many different forms of cancer, like a monster with many heads.  Educating ourselves about cancer is one of the best ways to fight it.  It's a chance to tell others our stories and to raise money for research. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and Blood Cancer Awareness month, too.  A member of Patience Brewster's family contacted me and asked if I could help spread the word about blood cancer awareness. Much like me (and probably you, too, since we all seem to have our own cancer stories), Patience has a story to tell and a loved one lost.  You can read all about Patience's family and her handsome son, Herm, who lost his battle against Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2005 at the age of 23.

Holland 'Herm' Gregg, photo courtesy/property of

On a side note, Patience Brewster is an amazing artist, as you can see on her website.  She creates gorgeous hand-sculpted ornaments and other unique gifts, some of which help fund cancer research. But more on that in a minute.

Patience Brewster (right) hard at work.  Photo property/courtesy of

How Can You Help?

How can you help?  First and foremost, start by sharing your stories.  Words have power, and social media is an influential tool. If you have a story to tell about a loved one you've lost to cancer, share it. Tell others about them, bring awareness to the disease, and do what you can to help raise research funds.

The last Easter egg hunt The Jersey Momma's Boy and Joey had together.

You can support the organizations that research cures for cancers.  A good start is the Holland C. Gregg IV Research Foundation, which was started by Patience Brewster's family, and helps fund research for the LLS.

Patience Brewster also creates an adorable ornament every year for the LLS (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) in her son's honor.  Proceeds from this ornament go towards finding better treatment options as well as a cure.  This year's LLS ornament is a beautiful 'Grant Great Dane.'  You can purchase it here.

If you'd like to help during Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, a good start is St. Jude's or GoGold.

This is not an affiliated post.  I don't profit or benefit from anything I wrote about here. I just hope to bring awareness to the battles that others are facing, and to honor those lost so senselessly.

You don't just lose your loved one to cancer.  You lose the life you had with them.  Not only do you long for your lost family member or friend, but you long for the life you had with them.  You long for it all to be the way it was.  Nothing is ever the same.  Holidays, birthdays, special celebrations- there is always a void, always a hole left where they used to be.  Cancer is a monster that needs to be stopped.  I hope that you'll join me in supporting one of these amazing causes, and help to fund the research that is so desperately needed.


  1. So sorry to hear about your nephew. I lost my aunt, grandfather and uncle to cancer.

    1. Thanks, Mary. So sorry for your losses, too.