CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS POSTAGE STAMP

  • by: Erica McManus
  • target: Dr. Virginia M. Noelke, Chairperson, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
This is a petition for a semipostal stamp to raise money for childhood cancer research.
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, PLEAD WITH THE CITIZENS' STAMP ADVISORY COMMITTEE to approve the subject of CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS for commemoration on a U.S. postage (semipostal) stamp.

There is no doubt that this theme fits the criteria of "widespread national appeal and significance" as: 1) CHILDHOOD CANCER IS THE NUMBER ONE KILLER OF OUR NATION'S most precious resource: our CHILDREN; 2) Childhood Cancer results in 30x more pediatric deaths than Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the United States; 3) Childhood Cancer kills more children in the United States than AIDS, asthma, diabetes and cystic fibrosis COMBINED; 4) APPROXIMATELY 12,400 AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER THIS YEAR. This works out to 1.4 children per hour and almost 34 children per day!; 5) One out of every 330 American children will carry the diagnosis of cancer by the age of 20, and 6) Approximately 2,300 American children lose their battle to cancer every year.

Although these statistics are stunning, they do not reveal the enormous impact of Childhood Cancer. The diagnosis of a child's cancer devastates the entire family. Marriages have been torn apart under the inordinate stress of a child's life-threatening disease. The unending angst wears on every part physically, intellectually and psychologically. The financial implications cannot be overlooked. Frequently one or both parents must take leave from their jobs. In some cases, they find that they are completely unable to work because of the amount of care their child needs. (Note: some children's protocols require 2-3 years of chemotherapy). The awesome news that more than 2/3 of children diagnosed with cancer will survive their disease also fails to tell the entire story. The current treatment which saves our children's lives exacts a lifelong price. These late effects may include a wide range of problems such as heart failure, pulmonary abnormalities, infertility, cataracts, hearing impairment, growth hormone deficiencies and neurocognitive deficits. Tragically, the treatment puts these children at a higher risk for other cancers later in life. The increasing survival rates will bring increasing challenges for our families, education system, medical system and workforce.

Recently, we learned that childhood cancer was again not chosen for a commemorative (1st class) stamp for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2007. We are continuing with our request for a semipostal (fundraising) stamp for childhood cancer. This, too, has been an ongoing effort, but now we are taking the gloves off and asking that it be legislatively mandated.

In August 2001 there was a submission to the U.S.P.S. of an RFP for a semipostal for childhood cancer. USPS was given the authority to issue semipostals after the first legislatively mandated stamp, the breast cancer stamp, which has raised over $25 million for breast cancer research.

It is unfortunate, but apparently clear, that the USPS has no intention in the near future to issue a commemorative stamp for childhood cancer, even though thousands of letters were written from families across the country in support of this stamp. Part of the criteria in issuing a commemorative, first-class stamp is to be nationally significant and benefit human welfare.

I AM A SINGLE MOTHER OF A TWO-TIME CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVOR, BAILEY McMANUS (born 4/29/96), AND MEGAN McMANUS (borth 11/14/94). 

BAILEY WAS FIRST DIAGNOSED AT AGE 5, TWO MONTHS BEFORE HER 6TH BIRTHDAY, WITH VERY HIGH RISK, VERY RARE PHILADELPHIA-POSITIVE CHROMOSOME ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA (1/1,000,000).  SHE WAS ONLY GIVEN A 30% CHANCE OF SURVIVAL

AFTER 2-1/2 EXHAUSTING YEARS OF CHEMOTHERAPY, SHE GOT A BREAK.  SHE WAS HEALTHY AND HAD ROUTINE FOLLOWUPS FOR THE FOLLOWING TWO YEARS.  UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE OF THE AGGRESSIVE NATURE OF HER CANCER, BAILEY RELAPSED ON 3/13/07 (FIVE YEARS AND ONE WEEK AFTER CYTOGENIC/MORPHOLOGIC REMISSION), EVEN THOUGH SHE STILL HAD TO UNDERGO THE HORRENDOUS/EXHAUSTING CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENTS FOR THE 2-1/2 YEARS). 

SHE HAD A DOUBLE CORD BLOOD TRANSPLANT ON JUNE 14, 2007 AT CITY OF HOPE IN DUARTE, CA.  FORTUNATELY, THE TRANSPLANT WAS SUCCESSFUL, BUT THE RECOVERY FROM TRANSPLANT WAS VERY LONG, DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL FOR HER.  EVEN THOUGH SHE NEVER GAVE UP, HER BODY WAS TOO WEAK TO GO ON AND SHE PASSED AWAY ON APRIL 11, 2008, A COUPLE WEEKS SHY OF HER 12TH BIRTHDAY.  MY BRAVE SOLDIER LOST HER BATTLE, AS SO MANY INCREDIBLY BRAVE, COURAGEOUS, INCREDIBLY STRONG-WILLED CHILDREN DO.  SHE BATTLED VERY HIGH RISK, VERY RARE CANCER TWICE (ONE IN A MILLION CANCER) -- BUT LOST.  SHE HAS HAD NUMEROUS BACTERIAL INFECTIONS (INCLUDING MRSA), 11 CENTRAL LINES, A PUNCTURED LUNG, PANCREATITIS, ASPERGILLOUS, TRALI (TRANSFUSION RELATED ACUTE LUNG INJURY -- A ONE IN A BILLION CHANCE), AND PASSED WAY FROM BRONCHIOLITIS OBLITERANS, PULMONARY HYPERTENSION, KIDNEY FAILURE AND LIVER FAILURE, ALL SECONDARY EFFECTS OF THE TRANSPLANT, AND THE YEARS PRIOR OF CHEMO/RADIATION.   BECAUSE OF THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF WHAT BAILEY HAD TO GO THROUGH, I PERSONALLY LOST MY MARRIAGE OF 12 YEARS, AS WELL AS MY FAMILY HOME, MY INVESTMENT PROPERTY (FOR MY GIRLS) AND RECENTLY FILED BANKRUPTCY.  I AM ALSO NOW COLLECTING WELFARE.    NO CHILD SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS!  NO FAMILY SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS!  THIS HAS TO STOP!  FUNDS FOR RESEARCH ARE NEEDED.  STAMPS WILL RAISE THE NECESSARY MONEY FOR RESEARCH.

PLEASE APPROVE THE COMMERORATION OF A CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS SEMIPOSTAL POSTAGE STAMP IMMEDIATELY.  I DON'T THINK YOU REALIZE HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD THIS AFFECTS.  I CAN ONLY SPEAK FOR MYSELF ... RESEARCH NEEDS TO BE DONE TO CURE THESE HORRENDOUS CANCERS AND SAVE ALL HELPLESS CHILDREN FROM BEING VICTIMS AND TARGETS OF SOMETHING THAT CAN BE CURED WITH NECESSARY FUNDS.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Erica McManus (and thousands of supporters)
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