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Jo Trizila
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Each day 46 children across the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis. In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Heroes for Children (HFC), a Dallas-based nonprofit that provides social and financial assistance to families whose children are battling cancer, offers a list of the seven things you need to know about childhood cancer:
 

1. 15,780 children between the ages of 0 and 19 are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States.
To combat this high number, HFC provides financial assistance to children and young adults up to the age of 22. Those new to adulthood often find they have a difficult time covering the cost of their cancer treatment.
 
2. Every year 1,960 children will die of cancer in the United States.
To honor children who are dying of cancer, HFC organizes Celebration of Life parties. Additionally, HFC provides financial assistance to help cover funeral costs.
 
3. The average cost per hospital stay for a child with cancer is $40,000, not including out of pocket expenses like food, travel and accommodation.
Since its inception in 2005, HFC has provided over $5.5 million to over 4,500 Texas families who are battling childhood cancer to help offset the cost of treatment and unexpected expenses. Assistance is awarded to families within one week and the average grant is $750, which can assist with expenses such as mortgage, utilities, car payments and much more.

 
4. Two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors face at least one chronic health condition as a result of their cancer treatment such as heart failure and infertility.
HFC financially aids young men who want to bank their sperm before going through chemotherapy so they are still afforded the opportunity to have children when they get older.
 
5. Often times, one parent must quit their job or put their career on hold to spend time caring for their child, and families have to make sacrifices to ensure the well being of the child battling cancer.
HFC hosts events like Holiday Heroes that give families a chance to be a family again. Holiday Heroes ensures the holiday wishes of the entire family of those who are battling childhood cancer are fulfilled. Families selected by social workers at each of the major hospitals across the state of Texas that partner with HFC are adopted by community members, organization supporters and businesses – who shop, wrap and donate gifts for the entire family.
  
6. Having a child with cancer can also put a lot of stress on a marriage, as both parties are not only worried about the health of their child, but also concerned about finances.
HFC offers social assistance programs such as a Valentine’s Day Dinner for parents to spend some time away from the kids and stress.
 
7. On average, each hospital stay for children battling cancer is 12 days.
HFC developed the Laptops for Love program that gives kids and teens in the hospital laptops so they can keep up with their school work and continue to connect with the outside world. 

Cancer affects many aspects of a family dynamic such as finances and social interactions that define day-to-day life. HFC exists to provide financial and social assistance to families with children battling cancer. They understand how difficult life can be and don’t want any family to feel isolated because of their child’s condition. It is the vision of HFC that no family with a child battling cancer will fight alone.

“Heroes for Children gave my family the financial and social assistance we needed during my daughter’s cancer diagnosis to help us feel like we were not alone in her battle against cancer,” says Gabriel Peterson. “We were able to cover the costs of travel and household bills, and by attending events like the Heart of Gold 5K & Fun Run, we are able to bring our family closer together during this difficult time.”

To help support HFC’s efforts to assist families like the Petersons, register for the upcoming 11th Annual Heart of Gold 5K & Fun – the annual affair invites Richardson and its surrounding communities together for a family-friendly event celebrating the hearts of children fighting cancer. To register and for more information about this event, please visit https://thedriven.net/heroes5k.

As HFC takes the next steps in preparing for Holiday Heroes, they would love the support of the surrounding communities. The spirit of giving is paramount for the success of Holiday Heroes. Donations can be made online and information about volunteering for Holiday Heroes is available through Heroes for Children.

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