Finding Hope in the World of Childhood Cancer


“Your child has cancer.” These are the words that ring in the ears of more than 16,000 children’s parents each year. The same words that mark the moment that a family starts to have real concern for their child’s life. Many families are left in a downward spiral with the monetary drawbacks that come with the treatment process and all the stress that is put on them, knowing that a young member of their family has to deal with the horrors of a deadly disease. While the diagnosis brings fear and anger, many families realize what little control they have over the outcome of treatment, turning to find hope.  

Ashlyn Hope Perkins, a 4 year old girl in Raleigh, is one of the many children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Ashlyn was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in May. Julie Perkins, Ashlyn’s mom, informs that “Ashlyn had 12 rounds of chemo so far; 6 rounds of those were for the wrong diagnosis that she received. [Ashlyn] was actually initially diagnosed with wilms tumor and she received 6 rounds of chemo for wilms tumor and then once she got the right diagnosis she received 6 more rounds of chemo for the stage 4 neuroblastoma.” Now that Ashlyn has “finished chemo, she’s going to go to new york for immunotherapy and radiation as well and that’s another 6 months worth of treatment. And after that, she’s going to be getting a vaccine trial which prevents relapse, so that’ll be like another 2 years of treatment.” 

Lots of children like Ashlyn have long roads ahead of them. For many families, treatment is difficult- which is why support towards foundations and organizations that help kids with cancer is so important, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. Ashlyn’s Hope is a nonprofit organization that aims to help children with cancer by creating care packages- a percentage of money raised goes towards research for finding a cure for neuroblastoma, while the other percentage of money raised goes towards care packages for children with cancer. These care packages contain toys, hats and colorful sheets for the hospital bed. Along with support for Ashlyn’s Hope, Julie relays that “one thing we need a lot of is research, so any organization that donates money to research is a great help.”

Another great organization to support is Just Tryan It. “Just Tryan It is an organization that financially benefits families with kids with cancer, so they help families with their car payments, their rent, groceries, a whole long list of things,” describes Lindsay Templeton. Lindsay, an Enloe sophomore, has been involved with the organization since 2016 and continues to work with them today. They have a number of locations across the States, including Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, and our very own Chapel Hill. Just Tryan It provides several opportunities for people to get involved; perhaps the most well known is their yearly race, where people from all around can choose to swim, bike, or run to pass the finishing line, all to support families who have children diagnosed with cancer. 

When Lindsay was 3, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, which is a type of cancer that affects the blood. Lindsay had “a very standard treatment process… it was only chemotherapy, no radiation, no surgery.” She has been a cancer survivor since 2008, and has spent time dedicating herself to raising awareness and helping contribute to the cause since then. She feels Enloe students can help the cause too, encouraging that “Just Tryan It is the local one that you really want to go to.” In addition, she wants Enloe students to know that St. Baldricks is “really good, there is no physical activity required, so if you don’t want to run and bike, great, shave your head! There’s a lot of different ways, and most organizations have a way that kids can get involved. “

Anyone can help, even if it’s just spreading awareness. Childhood cancer is often pushed aside and we want to make sure it gets put back into the light. If you are able to, try to get involved with some of the organizations mentioned above or donate to Ashlyn’s Hope. Let your family and friends know about these wonderful organizations as well and you can help to support the children who need it. 


Ashlyn’s Hope:

Just Tryan It: