Sept. is childhood cancer awareness month

Eli Kassler pictured in the hospital with the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team. Photo courtesy of Eli’s Warriors.

Eli Kassler pictured in the hospital with the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team. Photo courtesy of Eli’s Warriors.

Alli Heckert, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

   Today, 720 children under the age of 18 will receive the life altering news that they have cancer, According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

   While medical treatments and opportunities are consistently needed, the research is underfunded and what actually comes after the diagnosis is a mystery to all but those who endure.

   Eli Kassler, a sixth grade boy from Antigo’s All Saint’s Catholic school, plays hockey, basketball, and is involved in the crossing guard. There is one thing that sets Kassler apart from the other boys in his school: Eli has Leukemia.

   “It was really hard at first, I didn’t leave the house for at least three months unless I was going to the doctors,” said Kassler.

   He was diagnosed Aug. of 2017, just a few days before he started middle school. Life for the Kassler family instantly changed as he fell behind in school, eventually causing him to repeat a school year. Kassler no longer could play sports, and visiting friends and family became absolutely exhausting.

   This is every parent and child’s worst scenario, disease ripping through house and home, tearing lives apart, and while horrifying, is not rare in any sense.

  According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization,  “Approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.” Many people believe the various types of cancer are all related, treatments that cure one form will cure another; this is not the case.

   Corrie Kassler, Eli’s mother, said, “Childhood cancer is vastly underfunded, only four percent of the money the government gives to cancer research goes to exploring remedies for childhood cancer.”

  She continues to express how little is known, explaining how many treatments for children are adjusted dosing for adulthood cancers. These treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, give an increased risk of developing cancer as a side effect  later in life.

   Sept. is the annual Childhood Cancer Awareness month, dedicated to fundraising, teaching, and rallying to defeat the disease. Organizations, big and small, put together events and memorials to spread the cause not only across the country, but around the world.

  “It isn’t about telling people what cancer is, it is about emphasizing how much it is happening. You don’t think it will happen until it happens,” said Corrie Kassler, when asked to describe the meaning of awareness.

   There is a fundraiser being held in her son’s honor, a race and family breakfast, but the meaning is, again, not to tell people what cancer is. Both felt the kindness that other people they had encountered showed their family the first few months after the diagnosis

  “What surprised us the most was how kind families who were experiencing similar situations were to us… they have their own community and are incredibly welcoming,” said Corrie Kassler.

  The benefit being held in Eli’s name, is to bridge the communities together, those directly affected and those who are fortunate enough not to be. Their goal is to start a conversation and address the issues at hand. Awareness has been raised, and now the mission is to fund research, treatments, and financially support the families left with large hospital bills.

  “Each hospital visit is around $40,000. Sometimes even more the longer he stays in for, about 1 out of 5 families affected by childhood cancer will most likely have to file for bankruptcy,” said Corrie Kassler.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email