In Canada, May is Cystic Fibrosis awareness month. November is diabetes, osteoporosis and lung disease awareness month. March is kidneys, liver, colon, epilepsy, and Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. February is black history and heart and stroke month. April is autism, oral health, Parkinson and IBS month. Are you getting the picture?
Every month except August is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for multiple causes. I’m guessing August everyone is busy at the beach and no one is thinking of walks, rides or fundraisers of any kind.
Today I read that many of my CF Momma friends (Mom’s with children living with Cystic Fibrosis) are struggling as no one is donating to their walk. Like I said before, May is CF month so the CF walks are nation wide. I do get it. It’s hard to feel like a lone warrior; the only one who cares about your cause. Our kids suffer so much and we momma’s have a lot of hard work that goes largely unnoticed. For those of you who don’t have kids with CF let me fill you in a tiny bit. We wake earlier than other families because we have early morning treatments to do before school. Those involve inhaled medications and chest therapy. After that there’s the oral medications and vitamins and laxatives and special diet to get into them before getting dressed, brushing teeth and doing their hair. Some parents would be tired just thinking of all this work before 7:30am! Most of my friends aren’t waking up their kids until then.
After school we start all over with the same treatments, different medications and sports and physical activity to keep their lungs active. Somewhere in those few precious hours we also have to fit in reading, homework, bathing, cleaning their rooms, chores, dinner time, teeth brushing, and then preparing one of our little’s night feed. Since the mucus takes over they have a hard time breathing. They use way more calories just breathing than we do walking. They need to ingest more calories than an adult does just to grow. One of our little ones can’t eat that many calories so she has a tube in her stomach and she gets fed a high calorie liquid every night directly into her stomach for most of the night so she can gain weight.
This is all the work that goes into our healthy CF kids. That is nothing compared to when they get sick. CF mommas spend most of our time worrying and trying to keep germs away from our kids. We want them to live normal lives but we know that one dip in a hot tub can equal a month in the hospital. We all do our best to try and keep them as healthy as possible as one bad infection can mean the end of their life. We are thankful for every month that we are not admitted. Something most mothers of healthy children don’t even think about. One of my darling CF Momma friends has been in hospital with her daughter every other month for six months. Can you imagine getting out only to be put back in again? It is beyond depressing. It is so hard to see our kids suffer with endless poking and prodding and pain. There are many bacteria that their lungs just can’t get rid of. We do our very best to keep CF kids 6 feet apart from other people living with CF so they don’t share bacteria. Can you imagine walking in the mall and wondering if the person beside you has a bacteria that could take 10 years from your lifespan? That’s what CF Mommas feel like. We do our best to know who around us could have the disease but it’s near impossible because they don’t all walk around with a tattoo on their forehead that says I have CF!
Our cause is important to us. It’s important to our families and friends too. But diabetes is equally important to one of my best friends who’s daughter struggles hard with diabetes. Cancer is a cause super important to many members of my family who have suffered terrible pain and loss. Autism is important to some of my friends who have children who struggle with that. All of those people are important to me and so are their causes. I get donation requests from all of them and I’m telling you right now, I would love to spend all my loonies and toonies and sponsor them but I can’t. I have 9 kids to feed and clothe.
I definitely don’t feel bad if no one donates to our CF walk. I don’t feel bad not donating to their cause. I hope all my friends know that I care about them and their cause even if I don’t donate. I will put all of our fundraising dollars for the years to five causes we believe in the most this year. Our support changes year to year depending on what we feel needs support the most. My love for my friends never changes.
So to all of you walkers, riders, bikers, jump ropers, and anyone who is part of any kind of “athon”, know that your journey is important. Even if you just manage to donate the minimum amount to walk, you are important. Even if no one sponsors you, you are important. Keep up the great work!