On September 17th and 18th, in Washington DC, thousands of people gathered together for Curefest 2016, a nation-wide event dedicated to raising awareness of childhood cancer. Among the attendees were the Lyon family, along with their friends and supporters, including the Scanlan and Cazares families. Their purpose in attending was to bring awareness to the government to get more funding for childhood cancer.
As many CHS families are aware, Jason Lyon of the Class of 2016, was diagnosed with a rare DIPG brain tumor, which claimed his young life last October. The Lyon family has since become activists for the cause of finding a cure for childhood cancer. They have formed the Lyonhearted Foundation and supported so many families dealing with the same difficult situation they endured. Their desire is to offer support for these families and share the love of Christ, which was Jason’s passion. Their participation in Curefest helped to further this purpose.
The goal of gathering in Washington, D.C. was to make connections with other foundations and to work together for the same mission: to spread awareness of childhood cancer. In many cases, such as breast cancer and homosexuality, the government comes together to light candles to honor the struggles they face, but no recognition has been given to those battling childhood cancer. In fact, the government only dedicates 4% of their cancer research budget to childhood cancers. These families were gathered there to peacefully spread awareness of this sad fact and unite elected leaders, the public, and the community of families who have endured the trials of childhood cancer. From last year to this year, the number of participants in CureFest has grown over three times. There were several events that took place during the day, such as a candlelight event in front of the White House and a rally where participants walked through the streets to the capital, voicing their opinion.
In the American Cancer Society, only two percent of the money donated will go towards research and cures for childhood cancers, while everything else goes to the the adult cancer funds. The drugs for Jason’s cancer are the same drugs used forty years ago and there have been no advancements due to the lack of investment. As of now, the leading killer of children up to the age of 18 is brain cancer, which used to be leukemia before they found ways to cure the disease due to research and financial investment.
The Lyonhearted Foundation’s goal is to provide help for kids looking to go on mission trips and to just share the love of Christ to others. The other portion of the foundation goes to Doctor Sudan, who specializes in DIPG in New York, and is dedicated to finding a cure for brain cancer. Not many people know that the month of September is childhood cancer awareness month and that supporters are dedicated to wearing gold. Don’t just wear gold in the month of September, continue Jason’s message by showing the love of God and support and fight all year! Our prayers continue to go out to all the families who are battling this dreadful disease.
By: Carsyn Arvan