Childhood cancer – did you know?

As our NFD readers have seen from other articles featured this month, September is, among other things, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.   Childhood cancer, while something we may not want to talk or think about, is

As our NFD readers have seen from other articles featured this month, September is, among other things, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.   Childhood cancer, while something we may not want to talk or think about, is real.    In the years I have worked in cancer control and prevention, I can attest that it is real.    Some of those whose lives have been touched by childhood cancer are some of the strongest people I know, and ALL have one thing in common – they want to make sure everyone knows about childhood cancer.  Whether it is the child, currently going through treatment, a young adult who is now a childhood cancer survivor, to a parent or loved one who is a co-survivor of childhood cancer – they all have an inner strength that is nothing short of incredible – and a PASSION for sharing with others what the words “childhood cancer” really mean.

One parent of a childhood cancer survivor who I personally have known for over thirteen years – and who I won’t name, because it will embarrass her – is about as passionate as they come when it comes to being a voice for childhood cancer.   For the past thirteen years, when she is not in D.C. as an advocate, or in Nashville doing things that would fill page after page, she has written the chapter on childhood cancer for three state cancer plans in my state.  I have chosen to incorporate some of the information this wonderful advocate contributed to my state’s cancer plan in this article, as a tribute to her and her ongoing work as a childhood cancer advocate.

I hope this information provides our readers with more information and education on childhood cancer. I will leave the inspiring stories and experiences for the other articles you will see in this month’s NFD – including our own Jessica Meyer who is a 14-year old dynamo childhood cancer survivor– and leave you with knowledge, which as we know is power.   Please share with others so that everyone is aware of childhood cancer.

Did You Know?

  • According to the National Cancer Institute, childhood/adolescent cancer is the number one cause of death due to disease in children younger than 20 years of age.1
  • Deaths from cancer exceed those related to cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, asthma, and AIDS combined, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2
  • The average age of diagnosis is six years old, resulting in the most years of life lost per person compared to all adult cancers.3
Chart - childhood vs adult

Source: 2013-2017 State of Tennessee Cancer Plan

For national resources on childhood cancer, please visit some of the following websites:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

American Childhood Cancer Organization/Candlelighters

Coalition Against Childhood Cancer

Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy


Children’s Oncology Group

46 Momma’s Shave for the Brave (St. Baldrick’s)

Gilda’s Club

Lighthouse Family Retreat

LiveStrong Foundation

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

National Children’s Cancer Society

People Against Childhood Cancer

Rally Foundation

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The Wellness/Cancer Support Community


While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt.

      Mom and coach of One Wheel Wonders performing unicycle team


  1. National Cancer Institute,
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  3. National Cancer Institute Cancer Trends 2009-2012
  4. 2013-2017 Tennessee State Cancer Plan,


Cindy Chafin
Cindy Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES® serves as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her. Through her many years as a masters-level certified health educator and 18-year employment in a higher education setting – as well as several years as a graduate and doctoral student – she has written countless articles, essays, publications, grant applications, proposals, reports, and other technical and creative writing documents. In addition to her training and professional work experience, she spent four years as volunteer editor of New Focus Daily, a publication of the Women Survivors Alliance, a national women cancer survivors-focused organization based in Nashville, Tennessee.
While serving as editor of Unconditionally Her, a women-focused magazine which provides content on anything from recipes, travel, books, and everything in between, she has a special interest in fitness, health, and well-being. She is certified by the National Commission on Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) and was part of the first cohort to receive master's level designation. NCHEC certifies health education specialists, promotes professional development, and strengthens professional preparation and practice. She is proud to be a CHES® and has been a public health professional for many years after receiving her graduate degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for many years and looks forward to re-engaging with women one-on-one as a health coach pending completion of her certification and doctoral degree to supplement her public health and academic work.

She currently is the Associate Director for Community Programs for the Center for Health and Human Services at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, located just outside of Nashville, where she has been a project director of multiple grants since 2002 and served as interim director from 2015-2018. Cindy offers her consulting services and volunteer hours under the umbrella of Community Health Collaboratives, LLC which she founded in 2002 for organizations such as Unconditionally Her and other non-profit and charity organizations. She is pleased to promote empowerment and confidence of women readers across the globe, and to provide inspiration, motivation, and voice for social change through her role as editor-in-chief of Unconditionally Her.

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