Kids! of the Month
Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!
Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
Amazing Kids! of the Month for February, 2005:
Amazing Kids of Cancer Survivors; U.S.A.
"My life is a miracle and my family is amazing. They (and my brother Tony had a huge part in helping me) were unbelievable, and would not let me give up even when I wanted to. I can't tell you how blessed I am with the support system I have behind me..."
"...My husband is absolutely a saint, as he took the hardest hit from it (having to work, take care of the kids and take on the enormous task of caring for me, too...)...My kids, of course were incredible and probably the main incentive to hang in there when I didn't want to. They were very scared but very brave. I have countless stories of their patience and love."
Amazing mom and cancer survivor;
Los Angeles, California
"I believe that there is a good in every bad. The good in this bad is that I realized that anything can happen. When I hear about stuff like this, I almost always think “ Oh, this won't happen to me.” Also I am much more grateful for people and things. My sister and I hardly get along and this made me love my sister more because anything could happen and she could be gone the very next day or second."
Sarah Toles, age 14,
Amazing niece of Cathy Jerz;
Los Angeles, California
"The kids enjoy the camp tremendously and look forward to the 'cabin times' because it is the only time when they can talk to friends who understand their feelings."
Amazing coordinator of Camp Kesem UCLA
Our February Amazing Kids! of the Month award is dedicated to all the amazing kids and teens throughout the world who have parents or other family members who have struggled with cancer.
Cancer is a group of
serious, life-threatening diseases. The good news is that the
rate of cancer survivors
in the United States has increased steadily in recent years, thanks to
reasons such as advances in medicine, early detection, better eating
and exercising habits.
If you are a child of a cancer survivor and need help, or if you know someone who is, be sure to check out the "Related Links" section at the end of the story below for some amazing resources. You'll also find immediately below some heartfelt stories and poetry written by some amazing children and a niece of a cancer survivor. You'll also read the inspiring personal reflection of their amazing mom and aunt who fought cancer and won! We hope this story may inspire those who read it to reach out in some way to help those kids who might need some support.
And don't forget, if you, or a young person (or persons!) you know, has an amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill, talent or ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Teachers are invited to nominate their entire classroom and the amazing projects they are working on too! Simply complete our new online nomination form for the Amazing Kid! of the Month award, or email us!
Amazing Kids of Cancer Survivors
Kids have an amazing way of bouncing back, even after going through some pretty tough times. There are many ways kids can find comfort and support to help them get through the difficult times surrounding their parents' illness. One way is to talk to friends who have gone through similar experiences. A camp program like Camp Kesem (see below) is one good way to meet other kids who have parents who are cancer survivors. Another great program is from Kid Support (see below), which has created a program especially for kids of cancer survivors.
Another way to help kids feel better is for them to express their feelings through writing. Below are a couple of poems by two sons of an amazing mom and cancer survivor from California, Cathy Jerz. Also below is a letter from Cathy's 14 year old niece, Sarah Toles, which expresses her feelings when she first found out her Aunt Cathy had cancer, how her faith helped her cope, and the lessons she learned from the experience. And finally, there is a moving piece by Cathy herself, in which she reflects upon all of her blessings.
If you'd like to share your own experiences, or tell us how you felt about reading the poems and stories below, please feel free to write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear what you have to say!
Daniel, age 7
by Daniel Jerz, age 7
When my mom got sick,
I felt so sad.
I went to see her in the hospital,
just me and my dad.
When she lost her hair
it made me so mad.
She was so sick,
it made me feel bad.
Her hair reappeared
which made me feel glad.
She's the best mom
I ever had.
Roses are red, Violets are blue
How I love the sweet smell of you.
Chamber Choir at Martin Luther King High School, Riverside, California
Shadow of Terror
by Brian Jerz
You never know where it is
It comes sneaking up
Watching for a victim to pass
It watches. Its eyes are pain
It’s breath illness;
Its name, is cancer
It will attack any one
No family is safe.
Stop, here she comes
Like a shield; She is strong
Taking the hits like a soldier of God
Protecting her family
She will stand tall till it is all over
This person is my mom. But what comes next is startling
The blow of her hands coming across
They slam into the face of death
Struggling to break free of the menace
The menace that harms; Cold and uncaring
The battle for life begins.
Its tactics are evil
It will not stand for struggle
It will over power and confuse
So the hand will strike the face
The face will bite the arm
And chaos will erupt
Is the cure as bad as the disease?
Not when you are as strong as she.
I stand by her side; Day after day
Hearing the swish of the I. V.
And the beeps of the machinery
Marking the rhythm of my thoughts
Pondering to myself
Why is the fearsome Dragon of Death
Attacking the heroin of glory?
Only God will tell- Or will He take
Wait- I see a light at the end of the tunnel
As it grows, it’s suddenly faint
Then the Death Dragon reappears to fight again
But not to fear, there is chemo
And the faith and power of a loving mother
To fight away the remains
They will not stop; She still won’t give up Smoke blows everywhere
What has happened?
The monster that was once a dragon, full of death
Is now a worm, a pitiful worm.
The light reappears
And I see her eyes open
The swishing stops and the beeping has ceased
I feel she is with me
But I will always be haunted
By what Shakespeare once said,
“To be or not to be [To live or not to live]
That is the question.”
Cathy has known her two friends her entire life and each are Godmothers to her sons....Cathy says: "Ruth's daughters said a rosary for me every night while I was sick (and that was a LOT of nights!)" ...This was before the walk in Oct.
A Letter from Sarah Toles, age 14
"It was a normal, happy, day. My dad and I were about to go running, and then all of a sudden my mom came out of her room crying. I knew something was wrong. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, 'Your Aunt Cathy has cancer.' I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t say anything. I just ran up stairs crying.
"I remember sitting there, in my room, for a long while until my mom called me downstairs. She explained the situation and it made me feel a little better. The only thing I could think of that night while lying in bed is that I was going to lose my aunt. I have never experienced anything this scary in my life. Then I remembered what my mom told me: the only thing we can do is pray. So that is exactly what I did, for many nights. Every time I thought about my aunt, no matter where I was, I would say a little prayer in my head for my aunt.
"A few months later we went! to California and one day we went to The City of Hope to see her. When I walked in the room I could hardly tell it was her. I wanted to cry that instant, but seeing the beautiful smile on her face made that horrible feeling go away. I was so happy to see her, and I could tell she was happy to see me too. I never knew what a huge affect praying had until the day that she got out of the hospital. It was the best day for our whole family. It was so nice to see her at family events again.
"I believe that there is a good in every bad. The good in this bad is that I realized that anything can happen. When I hear about stuff like this, I almost always think 'Oh, this won't happen to me.' Also I am much more grateful for people and things. My sister and I hardly get along, and this made me love my sister more because anything could happen and she could be gone the very next day or second."
"My Walk" - Reflections of an Amazing Mom and Cancer Survivor, Cathy Jerz
Amazing Mom and
Cancer Survivor Cathy Jerz, walking with
Amazing Cathy and
husband Bob Jerz, in front of Hope Fountain, City of Hope, Duarte,
This banner was at the head of the first lap of the Relay For Life which was the
"Survivor Lap"...those with purple shirts on are all survivors!!
After the initial lap, the families and supporters joined in
and the walk went continuously for 48 hours!
The organization provides training and support to university student groups who in turn organize and operate the Camp Kesem programs on their respective college campuses.
Camp Kesem National
provides participating campuses with the tools they need to establish
successful, self-sustaining Camp Kesem programs.
To find a Camp Kesem
on a college campus near you, visit their national website at: www.campkesemnational.org/join_us/families_coping.htm
If you don't find one
near you, don't give up! There are Camp Kesem programs starting
up on new campuses all the time! You may be able to help start
one on a college campus in your area.
The newest camp will
be held this coming summer at the University of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA). For additional information, please contact the camp coordinator
Bryn Pyke at:
--or by phone at the General Camp Kesem UCLA mailbox: 310-824-0672
Kid Support (www.kidsupport.org) is a
nonprofit, charitable organization founded in 2000 to help children and
teenagers cope with having a parent or other family member who has had
cancer. Based in
program is available to all families, regardless of their geographic
location or economic status.
Kids and parents alike can contact Kid Support by email at: email@example.com or by phone at: 847-869-1323.
Kid Support - a Non-profit
organization that helps children
cope when a parent or other family member has cancer by providing free
support programs: www.kidsupport.org
for Families of Cancer Survivors (i.e. free materials, books, videotapes,
etc.) to help families of cancer survivors, as listed on Kid Support
Kids Cope with Cancer - article on Connect
for Kids website: www.connectforkids.org/resources3139/resources_show.htm?doc_id=248626
A directory of Camp Kesem camps throughout
the U.S.: www.campkesemnational.org/join_us/families_coping.htm
The American Cancer Society website: http://www.cancer.org/
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