After school one day last week, instead of driving my kids home, I drove to the rink where my daughter plays hockey. My girls were a bit confused.
“Why are we here today, Mommy? It’s not a hockey day,” my hockey girl said to me.
She was right, but I had a small, important purchase I needed to make. We went inside and I bought one pair of bright pink laces for her skates that she will wear this entire month of October when she takes the ice.
My daughters didn’t think much of this initially, as a girl wearing pink is certainly not out of the ordinary. But when it comes to her gear, my hockey girl has always preferred to stay with the “normal” hockey colors, not wanting to draw attention to herself.
So she asked me, “What are these for?”
And there opened the door for the perfect opportunity to talk to my girls about the month of October and cancer awareness.
This isn’t a new topic for them. Just as every family has been affected in some way by this brutal disease, so has our family. The girls know that we have two very dear family friends and one aunt who have battled breast cancer in recent years—and are winning. They ask about them and pray for them often.
I explained the significance of wearing pink and how that helps brings honor, awareness and support to those we know, and those we don’t, who are bravely fighting breast cancer. But I didn’t want to limit my discussion with them to just one type of cancer.
We have other family members and friends who have had other types of cancer. Some are winning the battle and others fought valiantly but are no longer with us. The girls lost a teacher at their school to cancer over the summer. And one of their schoolmates has spent the last year at CHOC fighting a rare form of brain cancer. It’s a topic that comes up often in our house, unfortunately, and the girls struggle to understand why some people get better and others don’t.
So as I threaded the bright laces into her skates and wrapped the blade of her stick in pink tape, I explained to my girls, age appropriately, the concepts of raising awareness, diagnosis and prevention, and raising money to find a cure. And I told them that October is a month that has been set aside by many organizations to bring special attention to this disease, but that we should be doing our part to fight all types of cancer all throughout the year.
As she took the ice early Saturday morning, there were other players, both girls and boys, sporting the pink laces and tape. My daughter smiled. It was great to see.
Here are some local opportunities to support cancer awareness this month.
Wildcats Hockey Club “Shooting for a Cure”
For the second year, the Wildcats Hockey Club will be participating in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their “Shooting for a Cure” fundraiser. All Wildcat players are encouraged to use pink laces and pink stick tape for the month of October to honor female family members and friends affected by breast cancer. Those items, along with several other items including t-shirts, sweatshirts, pins and socks, will be for sale at the Ice Locker at KHS Ice Arena in Anaheim. All proceeds from the sale of these items will go to Kids Konnected. A local charity, Kids Konnected provides a way for kids with parents affected by cancer to connect with each other through summer camps, youth conferences, counseling and educational support.
Anaheim Ducks Foundation / Hockey Fights Cancer
The Anaheim Ducks Foundation is encouraging fans to “like” their new Facebook page to help fight cancer this month. For each “like” received in the month of October, the Anaheim Ducks Foundation will match with a $1 donation to the Orange County/Inland Empire Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
CHOC Walk in the Park at the Disneyland Resort
Orange County’s only freestanding children’s hospital, CHOC Children’s has been serving our community for years, treating children with diseases beyond just cancer. But because my girls have a schoolmate who is currently being treated for brain cancer at CHOC, I decided that I was going to support this great Orange County treasure by participating in this year’s CHOC Walk in the Park. I’ll be walking with the Anaheim Ducks Die Hards team. If you feel led to support us, here’s the link to our team page.
Whether you chose to participate in these opportunities, or if you have other organizations that are close to your heart, do take time out this month to honor those who have been affected by this terrible disease, help raise awareness and educate yourself.
As the saying goes, together we can find a cure.
**Wildcats photo courtesy of Marc Posner