For a parent hearing that their child has cancer is a devastating blow.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
"She is happy all of the time. She brings a lot of joy to the people she is around," said Amanda Alexander. Her daughter Olivia was diagnosed with cancer when she was 5-months-old. With curly hair and a glowing smile, Olivia can light up a room. But in her short time in this world, she has already faced overwhelming challenges. "She is my inspiration for anything that I do. I think that if Olivia can do it I can do it."
Thursday 13 News sat down with Alexander and parents of other childhood cancer survivors to find out what challenges they face as they try to help their children. All four women said there isn't enough access to support and information.
"The doctor walks out of the room and you are left with kind of nothing. I mean at one point I just kind of sat there and said I don't know what to do next," Alexander said.
Kelly Wymer's daughter Ali was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. Since then she has been working to educate other parents by sharing Ali's story.
"It is too much for parents to go out there and look for all of that information and try to find those resources on their own when they have a sick child," Wymer said.
Grandmother Tritia Whittington and mother Amber Curry also joined the discussion. They spoke about the importance of parents trusting their instincts. Whittington's grandson Ace was originally treated for constipation. The family would later find out he had a tumor in his kidney.
"Keep fighting," Curry said. Her son Trey is still receiving treatment but he is in remission.
There is a walk this weekend in Charleston to raise awareness and money for a group called CureSearch. The walk will be at Laidley Field with registration starting at 9 a.m. The walk itself starts at 10 a.m.
You can find an extended version of our in depth interview with the women in the video player above.
You can also get information about local childhood cancer resources by clicking on the links provided on the right.
350 Quarrier Street
Charleston, WV 25301
Main (304) 343-1313
Fax (304) 343-6138