Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

Written By:  Kathy Glow @ Kissing the Frog

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old (after accidents). About 12,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012, and of those, about 1,340 children are expected to die from it.

Despite the fact that childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades, pediatric cancers make up less than 1% of cancers diagnosed each year. Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, about 80% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more, depending on the type of cancer.

The statistics sound promising, except when you think about the fact that 1,340 families will have to bury a child this year.

And that is 1,340 too many.

In 2010, my family was one of 90 families in Nebraska who lost a loved one to brain cancer. That loved one was our son, Joey, who was just six years old (which is the average age most children are diagnosed with cancer). If you are not familiar with our story, you can read it here or here.

Most of us, thankfully, have never had to face the cancer beast personally. But most of us have heard of other families receiving the dreaded cancer diagnosis. Beyond “thoughts and prayers,” we feel there is little we can do.

Sometimes, though, a little goes a long way.

Here are some things you can do to show your love and support for a family facing a cancer battle with their child:

Send a gift card for food, gas or groceries. These families are often running back and forth from doctors’ appointments and treatments. After a long day at the hospital, it’s helpful to pick up food and not have to worry about cooking. And if treatment means travel to a larger city, the gas card comes in handy, as well as access to a quick meal.

Organize meals to be brought into the home. Sites like Meal Train and Take Them a Meal make keeping track of meals a snap. Each participant can see exactly what others brought and when, and there are no phone calls to make. The family can also keep track of what is coming and when.

Volunteer to run errands. All the little things in life become so unimportant when your child is battling cancer. You run out of milk and toilet paper, your shirts sit at the dry cleaners for weeks, and your pet just doesn’t get groomed. If it’s something little that still needs to be done, offer to do it.

If you know the family well enough, show up. Show up at the hospital during treatments to keep the family company or grab them some coffee or lunch. Show up to their house and do some laundry or vacuuming. Take their other children to the park or out for ice cream (they need lots of love and attention during this time, too). Offer to sit with their sick child so they can take a breather. Show up after dinner and clean up the kitchen. Most families hesitate to ask for this kind of help. Just do it for them.

Send cards and e-mails and write on their Caring Bridge page. Some days, the last thing a family battling cancer wants to do is talk on the phone. You can still let them know you care. During some of our darkest days with Joey, we would read a comment on Caring Bridge or get a card in the mail at just the right time to give us some hope or something to smile about. And be okay with not getting a response.

Help organize and attend fund raisers. According to, the average out-of-pocket cost for a family with a child battling cancer is over $9,700. Even in cases where health insurance is available, expenses can add up quickly.

Participate in walks and races for a cure. The Cure Search Walk is held the first weekend in June in Omaha every year, and Race Against the Odds is a 5K benefitting pediatric brain cancer research.

Spread awareness. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and September 13th is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. Wear a gold ribbon in support of a family battling cancer with their child.

Contact law makers. Let them know that it is not okay that there has only been one new pediatric cancer drug created in the last 20 years.

Donate. There are so many great organizations, too many to list. Just Google and find the one that speaks to you.

This is obviously a cause that is near and dear to my heart, so I’m doing my part to help spread awareness and encourage action. Go to Kids V Cancer, Go Gold, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand for more ideas on what you can do to help save a child’s life.

Our family before our Make-A-Wish Trip in 2009


Ribbon source

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

Please Don’t Let My Baby Die

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Toddler boy lying in hospital bed, color photo

I wasn’t made for this.  I am not strong enough. Lord, where are you taking me? Why does this joyful time, filled with our last baby’s firsts, have to be this way? Why did the doctors look at me that way? They know what’s coming, and deep down inside, so do I. The inevitable word that is about to come out of their mouths.  The C-word.  Cancer. It’s life-changing.  Almost as if it were a car accident. Believe me, I know about that. To be the reason behind a grown man hanging onto a thread. Completely unintentional. I just needed...

Keep Reading

The Art of Showing Up

In: Cancer, Kids
Dad hugging young son

As a father of four boys, you may imagine that life is hectic from time to time for me.  While it truly is, in fact, quite crazy sometimes, it isn’t always because of the reasons you might think.  I have four boys, ages 11, 4, 3, and almost 2, and that certainly makes for an interesting daily living experience for my wife and me.  We do our best to remain patient and lean on God’s strength and peace to fill us on the days that seem overly daunting and occasionally even downright impossible, but we are human.  Therefore, we fail...

Keep Reading

No One Prepares You for When Your Husband Has Cancer

In: Baby, Cancer, Marriage
Family sitting by window

No one ever prepares you for the moment you hear your spouse has cancer.   More so, no one prepares for you to hear this when you have a 5-month-old at home. “Mom, they said the tumor is cancerous, and they need to enucleate his eye on Thursday,” I say quietly into the phone as I pump in a dirty bathroom stall at the eye hospital.   Whir. Whir. Whir. Whir. Gosh, I hate pumping.  Today is my first day being away from my daughter. My mom is watching her while I made the trip to the eye hospital with...

Keep Reading

l Will Never Stop Missing My Sister

In: Cancer, Grief, Loss
Woman in red shirt

It might be 16 years too late to properly depict the depressive senses that engulfed my whole being when I lost my only sister Aurora to colon cancer in 2006. Painful flashbacks continue to fill my everyday life at the most inopportune moments that  writing about it might somehow alleviate my grief. I remember getting that random phone call from her one sunny day in September 2006 and how guilt automatically hit me. It had been a while since I last saw her. “It’s positive,” she said. Backed with years of joking around and playing tricks on her since childhood,...

Keep Reading

Having Cancer at 34 Taught Me How to Live

In: Cancer
Husband and wife on boat, color photo

This picture came up in my Facebook memories today. It took my breath away for a moment, just like it has for nine years now. It was the last picture taken of me before my midwife found the lump and my life changed forever.  The first time I saw that photo, I realized I didn’t know that woman anymore. She was naive. Laying there in the sun without any inkling that a cancer was growing inside her. Look at her—unafraid and without anxiety. Less than 48 hours later, she would be gone, replaced by someone who was afraid of each...

Keep Reading

How Grateful I Am for a Mother Who Believed in Me

In: Cancer, Grief
Mother and grown daughter, color photo

It was a hot summer day sometime in the middle of high school. I was young and naive, but the ugly six-letter word was looming over our family: cancer. Although I didn’t know it then, this would be our last normal summer before my mother’s health would worsen. Cancer would give way to terminal cancer. It’s funny how something so big can seem so small in those moments. My mom and I were sitting on our back porch, encased in a narrow hedge of yew bushes. It was a yellow, lazy Saturday, and my brothers and father were at Cub...

Keep Reading

A Medical Diagnosis Challenges a Marriage

In: Cancer, Living, Marriage
Bald woman holding clippers over husband's head, color photo

It is no secret now that Albert Pujols and his wife have announced their divorce shortly after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a breast cancer survivor, this news hit me in a special way. As I was reading through an article from Today, there was a quote that hit me hard, “But a marriage falling apart is far more common when the wife is the patient, researchers have found. A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is...

Keep Reading

When You’re Barely Hanging On, It’s OK to Ask For Help

In: Cancer, Living, Motherhood
Worn mailbox, color photo

I’m a bundle full of fun. My list of fun things include being diagnosed with cancer at age 33, having the BRAC1 gene mutation, doing six months of oral chemo, having a hysterectomy at 34, my ovaries and tubes out at 34, enduring a double mastectomy, and a million scans and procedures under my belt, followed by five months of oral chemo. I was a stay-at-home mom during this time with a 7, 5, and 2-year-old.  Sometimes I feel like I experienced a whole lifetime in one short snapshot of a year.   At the beginning of my diagnosis, our mailbox...

Keep Reading

This is What Cancer Looks Like

In: Cancer, Motherhood
Mother lying on bed with toddler sprawled across her, color photo

While I was going through active treatment and recovering from procedures and surgeries, certain moments during the day triggered this thought in my head, This is what cancer looks like. I envisioned a still shot of that moment and that title above it. One of the first times I had this thought was when I was lying on the couch watching my daughter play. I was fatigued and my heart was racing, but I was still a mom needing to supervise my 2-year-old.  She came over and held my hand.  This is what cancer looks like. In the days following...

Keep Reading

Cancer is Not in Charge

In: Cancer, Living
Mother with bald head holding child, color photo

My entire life, I’ve felt much pride and comfort in being a person who was highly organized, a planner, someone who truly enjoys predictability. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, everything that encompassed my normal way of living was disrupted. And there was no way to fix it. This was not a good feeling—frankly, it sucked. I’m a stay-at-home mom of three young children. My first thoughts after my breast cancer diagnosis were how this was going to affect them. Would they even still have a mother in a year? These are terribly hard things to think about when you...

Keep Reading