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 project director for the Women Survivors Alliance and New Focus Daily magazine. Cindy is masters-level certified in health education 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 degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Cindy has been involved in multiple cancer activities and projects since 2000, including serving as the state coalition coordinator for Tennessee for 13 years, and currently is involved with several cancer organizations. 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. She has been touched by cancer personally after seeing both family and friends alike suffer from the disease.

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 the Women Survivors Alliance and other non-profit and charity organizations. She is pleased to partner with New Focus Daily and WSA.

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