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In 2008, September 13 was designated as “National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day,” one of the 30 days in which we rededicate our efforts to conquer childhood cancer and honor all the young warriors and their family’s efforts to combat this devastating disease.
Each year, approximately 12,500 American children are diagnosed with some type of cancer.
That means 46 children a day are diagnosed with the disease. Although more children die from accidents, pediatric cancers continue to be the leading cause of death by disease for all children under the age of 20.
The good news is over the past 50 years, significant advances in treatment have resulted in improved childhood cancer survival rates. The bad news is the number of children being diagnosed with cancer is on the rise.
Although we don’t know what causes childhood cancers, experts acknowledge that over 90 percent of all cancers are caused by environmental factors. We also know there are many commonly used products that contain chemicals that are carcinogenic.
Last year I wrote about the release of the President’s Cancer Panel report that warned about “environmentally induced cancers” and my belief that we need to be pro-active about prevention.
I also provided several steps you can take to reduce your child’s – and your own – risk of exposure.
People familiar with my work know defeating childhood cancer is an issue that is very close to my heart and one that continues to motivate me every day.
Thirteen years ago, my husband and I founded the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer. We see firsthand the challenges these children and their families face every day. We understand there are few hardships in life that can compare to the helplessness felt when a parent is told their precious child has cancer. We also see the devastation a diagnosis can have on every aspect of a family’s life. We wanted to give as many children as possible a chance to experience something unique, escape for a short time the pressures of their reality and show them that they are not defined by their illness and are capable of anything. We spend every summer working with these children.
We live in the big Hacienda together and take care of these kids as if they’re our own. We have a philosophy of instilling a strong work ethic, strong sense of responsibility that then restores their self esteem, self confidence and a sense of purpose in life. Along with this we created a healthy green environment feeding the children an organic, plant based whole food diet. They are given organic personal care products and only use non-toxic products for the horses and overall care on the Ranch.
In 2001, we opened the doors of the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, the first hospital-based program whose mission is to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children’s health. With this mission in mind and because I believe prevention is the key to defeating childhood cancers, I went on to create and implement the non-toxic Greening the Cleaning® line of industrial and commercial cleaning products.
I hope you will remember the young faces behind National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and support the many non-profit organizations and institutions that are out on the front lines fighting to defeat this dreaded disease.
Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health CenterTM at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children’s health issues, and is a contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com. For more information go to www.dienviro.com