What kind of parent would shout out, "Look how far we have come! Thirty-five years ago, all four of our children would not have made it to five years, but now, three of them will! Woo hoo! We are such good parents because we've 'saved' three of our children! Let's keep working for other families to save their children like we've saved our three!"
Normal parents would rejoice over the recovered health of the first three children, but they would work fearlessly on behalf of their fourth child. They would not rest until that child could have the same results as the others. In spite of their joy on behalf of their older children, they would be relentless in their search for a cure for the fourth child because of the great love they have for all their children. Who would tell a parent to stop obsessing over their fourth child? Who would tell parents that because their first three children were cured, that the fourth child wasn’t as important? Who would tell parents to simply accept the fact that the stage of disease that fourth child had was simply incurable, so more resources should be given to other families with other children? Who would tell parents to focus on the three who were cured?
But were they? The oldest child (who had the earliest diagnosis) wakes up with a cough that can't be shaken off. Weeks later, the parents take the child to doctor after doctor after doctor who look for some kind of explanation for the cough wracking the child's body. Finally, a doctor checks for the original disease and discovers that it's not only in the child's lungs, but has spread all over the child's body. That child, too, is expected to live less than five years.
"We don't understand. We thought our child was cured," cries the parents. "We were told our child was cured. Why were we lied to like that?"
The fourth child defied expectations and lived for eight years. The first child, diagnosed with returning disease, died shortly thereafter.
Instead of burying one child, this family buries two. They died within weeks of each other.
Fear reigns in the hearts of this family as they wonder if their other two children are safe. The parents push and push and push for more research into this disease because it's been proven that no one is safe. If one of their children can have a recurrence, then all of them can. They don't have time to wait for walks and relays and shopping to provide the much needed funds for research. They hit the streets, begging people to help save their children's lives.
The crowds walk by them, saying, "We put money into a pink box at our office. We were told that the pink box fund is all we need to do. We received a pink ribbon for putting money into the pink box. Pink is everything you need for your children!"
The parents wail, "We want more than pink! We want our children to live!"
"You need to stop being so negative! Look at all the good pink has done! Your two children are alive because of pink! Don't be such a hater! Don't be so bitter. You need to accept your lot in life and get over your self-serving ways. It’s much more important that other families’ children are saved."
Tears run down the parents' faces. "How did it come to this? Why are we being told than one child is worth more than the other? We could easily shout that our children are 'survivors,' but we now know that there is little comfort in that word."
The parents lift their heads and continue their crusade. They want their children to be safe and to be able to live without fear. They want no other family to have their experience. This disease must be stopped and in spite of the fatigue and weariness that invades their very souls, they continue their mission.
No one is safe. Everyone who has been impacted by this disease should be involved in stopping it in its tracks. No one should feel safe because no one is.
Which child would you choose?