Build-A-Bear Workshop spreads awareness for childhood cancers

by Rita Watkins

Build-A-Bear Workshop spreads awareness for childhood cancers

Parents want the best for their children, but when it comes to their health, sometimes there is little that they can do. Childhood cancer may be dreary, but it's a reality for some parents. To offer support, there is a whole month dedicated to its awareness.

Since September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Build-A-Bear Workshop is raising money for research on what causes cancer in these young patients for the seventh year in a row. All stores in the U.S. are asking customers for a donation of $1 or more when purchasing one of their bears. In addition, Canadian locations are selling purple satin hearts.

"Build-A-Bear Workshop is dedicated to supporting causes that matter most to our guests, including the almost 13,000 children under the age of 21 diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States," said Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop. "We are proud to support Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and help raise funds for research and family support for those affected by children's cancer."

Childhood cancers are rare, but still exist

The latest data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that approximately one to two children out of every 10,000 younger than 15 are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S., and about 15 percent of all cases will die from it. Currently, it's the leading cause of death among this age group.

Although the incidence of diagnosed children has increased over the past 20 years, the death rate has declined significantly, according to the NCI.

There are 12 main childhood cancers that are typically seen by healthcare providers and can occur at any time during baby development, including leukemia and cancers that affect the central nervous system. In many cases, the cause is unknown and consistently stumps many physicians.

Symptoms vary from child to child

When it comes to diagnosing kids, doctors may observe symptoms like a fever, swollen glands, bruises and anemia. However, these are also characteristic to other infections, which is why cancer can sometimes go undiagnosed for a while, according to the Nemours Foundation. When the disease is officially determined by a pediatrician, parents must find a pediatric oncologist to begin the appropriate treatment, which may include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery depending on the child's age and the severity of the cancer.

Have you ever known a child who was diagnosed with cancer? How did his or her parents deal with the situation? What would you do? Leave your answers in the comments section!