You Can Keep Your Pink Ribbons – #GoGoldStayGold

Look, I completely understand that it is the month I’m supposed to be drinking fancy coffees from pink ribbon paper cups, showcasing pink ribbon products and wearing pink ribbon awareness tees with my BFF’s, but that’s not gonna happen. I’m giving up all my pink ribbons. 

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Today I read on The Ronan Thompson Foundation Facebook Page that the Empire State Building was going to go Pink. The parents and children of childhood cancer have been fighting all year for them to go Gold and all they got were insults about how they were stalkers and harassers for trying to get their attention. This made me so upset that I cannot even fathom how those parents must feel. Part of me wanted to scream for them and the other part wanted to just weep, because this already happened once.

Last year they had asked the White House to go Gold and had created a petition with thousands of signatures for President Obama. Unfortunately, the White House refused to go Gold for Childhood Cancer in September. Of course they had received a letter from the President essentially stating that they aren’t biased in their support of “cancers”. Then October had come and the White House went Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. 

How many times can America break their hearts with pink ribbons?

“As individuals and organizations supporting our nation’s children and adolescents with cancer we too can take a strong stance for our cause with both federal and private research funding. Breast cancer is the sixth most common cause of death by disease of women in America (behind heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, respiratory disease and Alzheimer’s). In comparison, cancer is the number one cause of death by disease of America’s children. In terms of person years life lost (PYLL), the average age at diagnosis of breast cancer is 61, with a calculated 16 PYLL. In contrast, the average age that a child is diagnosed with cancer is 10. This calculates to 67 PYLL. Sixty seven years of life lost when a child dies from cancer.”

I’ve wondered for a long time why people don’t support childhood cancer the way they do breast cancer. Some people have told me it’s because it is too depressing; that no one wants to see a dying child. I suppose there could be some truth to this. It’s easier for people to see only the good things. There is always a great spin of strength, support and survival for women suffering from breast cancer. On the other hand, the survival rate of childhood cancer is much lower and those that do survive often suffer from severe life threatening illnesses for the rest of their lives. People can feel good about themselves when they see people and places offering those “last gifts” to the children and their happy last moments, but the struggle and fight before hand is not very Instagramable. 

The only thing that seems to make a difference is when it becomes personal; that sad reality is happening for more and more people. Each year an estimate of 13,500 kids are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. 

“In 2007, the NCI reported that the combined extramural and intramural funding for childhood cancer research was approximately $180 million. However, this estimate could be regarded as liberal as some of the associated research might not be perceived as directly benefiting childhood cancer. Other more conservative estimates, put childhood cancer research funding as low as $30 million annually.”

“To put this figure in perspective, the NCI allocated $572.4 million on breast cancer research in 2007. Other NIH Institutes funded breast cancer research at a level of $132.6 million in the same year; and the Department of Defense, which also supports breast cancer research, allocated an additional $138 million. As a comparison, breast cancer with its overall 5 year survival rate of close to 90% received $843 million in Federal research funding in 2007. This was in addition to the funds raised by breast cancer organizations through their pink ribbon campaigns and private donations.”

What gets to me the most is the fact that there are so many millions of parents in the United States and yet our largest support for cancer doesn’t go to children. That even though the White House is ran by parents and I’m sure the Empire State Building is ran by parents, that they can’t seem to support the children who need it most. 

Cancer seems to like my family. It has taken my uncle, my grandmother, a part of my brother’s brain, attacked ovaries and breasts of the women in my family and is currently working its way through my only living grandparent. My support of cancer research is pretty vast, but my heart will always fight for the children. Maybe it is because the memory of my brother walking out of the room at 3 years old wondering why half his body wasn’t working haunts me, or the fact that I’m petrified of it hitting closer, but a lot of the reason is because I believe all children deserve the right to live. I have this belief that maybe, maybe, if we gave even 1/2 of the support we offer towards Breast Cancer Awareness for Childhood Cancer that we’d be giving them a fighting chance. 

The success of the pink ribbon campaign and its resulting funding for breast cancer research has resulted in an increase in the five year survival rate of that patient population. Their strength as advocates has resulted in a strong position for both federal and private research funding.”

“Our call to action is to increase the awareness of the incidence and devastation of this disease on America’s children. By raising awareness of the fact that childhood cancer remains the number one disease killer of America’s children, we can raise the awareness of the need for greater research funding.”

As a woman and a mother, I feel it is a small sacrifice to give whatever I would have given to pink ribbons this month to gold. I hope one day that the government and our country will be proud to bare the gold ribbon as it does the pink. That we can one day show the strength, support and rising survival of our children because we made it happen. We changed the future for millions of women battling breast cancer, can’t we try and do the same for our kids?

Manda Signature

 

Quotes are from the American Childhood Cancer Organization. For information on #GoGoldStayGold, #BeBoldGoGold or #EmpireGoGold, please visit The Ronan Thompson Foundation.

Baby Mantra All-Natural Bath Products for Babies and Kids

~I received Baby Mantra samples for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions and stories are my own.~

I have made the switch to be more green but as Kermit would say “it’s not easy being green.” It seems there are harmful chemicals everywhere from the cups we drink to the food we eat. Finding the right products for my family can be difficult as there seems to be so many options out there and I feel the need to research each of them before I use them. Baby Mantra is a company that sells all natural bath products for baby using organic ingredients. They are Natural Products Association and PETA certified and their mission is one I can really get behind.

Baby Mantra’s mission is to envision, develop and deliver the highest quality products to improve the well-being of children around the world, using only the finest earth friendly natural ingredients.

Baby Mantra

Baby Mantra is the proud supporter and corporate partner of Health Child Health World, a nonprofit organization inspiring parents to protect their children from harmful chemicals.  Baby Mantra believes children have a fundamental right to a pollution-free environment and access to safe products.  In spite of some recent strides made toward making the world a safer place for kids, countless children worldwide are exposed to harmful carcinogens in everyday products.  We stand with Health Child Health World and its drive to communicate a message to parents for the benefit of children, through our financial commitment to support the organization’s programs and its resource development.

Baby Mantra

I absolutely adore the 3-in-1 bubble bath, shampoo & body wash. It gets my girls nice and clean but of course their favorite feature is the bubbles. Since it is an all natural bubble bath it will not bubble up like synthetic bubble baths so in able to get lots of bubbles I put it directly under the water spout and I give a healthy squeeze from the bottle. Here is a picture of it in action and as you can see there are plenty of bubbles to be had.

Baby Mantra

All natural shampoos get my daughters’ hair very clean but it also leaves it incredibly tangly when it comes time to comb it out after bath. Moms of children with long hair know exactly what I am talking about and how tangles equal torture. That is where their detangling conditioner comes in. We use it every single time to get my daughters’ long hair nice and smooth and it makes it a breeze to comb out their hair. Both products also smell so good and I may or may not catch myself taking a huge inhale of their smell at night when I kiss them goodnight.

Baby Mantra products are ones I can count on and they work great for us. I still have a long way to go to help my family be more “green” but at least I am moving in the right direction. I also just love their cute logo!

Connect: You can connect with Baby Mantra on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

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Elie Tahari Launch at Kohl’s DesigNation

~I received a few complimentary sneak peek pieces from the Elie Tahari Collection. Opinions and stories are my own.~

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Of all the designers I’ve had the pleasure of showcasing from Kohl’s over the last year, Elie Tahari is without a doubt my favorite. It isn’t just the choice of rich fabrics with beautifully exquisite detail that I love, but the artist who had infused his inspiration into each piece. 

“… clothing should be quieter than the woman so that her true beauty can shine through.”

On September 26th, Elie Tahari launched his Fall 2014 line at Kohl’s DesigNation. Channeling the urban sophistication of New York City, the pieces are like a mix-match of runway style and street life. With a blend of two worlds, it makes most of these pieces completely universal.

Take this Taxi Georgette Top. With a ribbed crewneck, cuffs and hem it has the body of a sweater, but the taxi and cityscape graphic is printed on a very fine Georgette fabric with sheer chiffon sleeves; which allow this top to be worn gracefully with either dress pants or jeans.

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Pieces like the Mock-Layer Sweater also have the same duel personality. You have a Boucle crop sweater over a chiffon printed bottom with the Chrysler building. The perfect balance between the fabrics is in and of itself an ode to NYC.

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There are also pieces like the Ombre Georgette Tunic, which is pure sophistication and comfortable luxury. My favorite parts of this particular piece are the placket covered buttons which offer a very fluid look, as well as the ombre splatter pattern that you can see on the lower end of the top that blends into the tights.

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Each of these pieces and many more can be found at Kohl’s. Just look for the Elie Tahari DesigNation Sign! Don’t forget to sign up for the Kohl’s App, print out your 15% OFF Coupon or use PromoCode: SEPTYES15 when purchasing online! Plus, everyone gets $10 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent until October 4th!

Connect: You can share your favorite Elie Tahari pieces on Kohl’s Facebook Page and/or @Kohls on Twitter!

Manda Signature

What is the Difference Between My Son’s Favorite Things & Yours?

Right now my life is filled with the wonders of car washes. There are makeshift “brushes” hanging from doorways, little cardboard box car washes on the floor, cards from favorite car washes in my wallet and videos loaded onto YouTube from around the globe. To say Tot is into car washes right now would be an understatement. He loves them.

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When he was into Cars, Tonka, Monster Trucks and Road Rippers it was no big deal. No one batted an eye when our entire house was filled to the brim with vehicles (and still is). After all, all boys love trucks right? But now that he is enamored with car washes it becomes strange. The excitement over new Cars cars was met with open smiles and understanding, but that same excitement over Tri-foam brings on half-hearted laughs and sideways glances. 

 

I get that it is a little odd. I still find it a bit strange that there are hundreds of people in car wash communities on YouTube who continually upload different videos of them driving through car washes (and don’t get me started on the elevator groups), but honestly, is it really all that different? 

How many little girls out there scream and go crazy over the new Frozen line or American Girl Dolls? How many boys freak out when they see their favorite superheroes or get that amazing toy they always wanted? How many kids out there have went utterly Sesame Street obsessed for a few years or have their room decked out with their favorite characters? Why is that more normal than my son’s favorite things?

This has been bothering me for a few days now. I thought I had a little more time before I had to really explain bullying and meanness to Tot, but a little while ago he noticed someone making fun of him. After getting through the Mama Bear anger, I just felt really sad. The unfortunate thing about being in this particular situation is that to confront it you only get two resolutions that I can see and all revolve around the, “Don’t make fun of a special needs child” and then the child either a) sees the other as damaged in some way and pities them or b) resents them and thinks less of them. Why not, teach your children not to make fun of him because he’s sweet, or nice? Why not teach them not to make fun of anyone?

In a perfect world I would rather everyone just see that it is okay to be excited about anything you love. It’s normal and not particular to ASD children. You don’t need to be special needs in order to feel passionate about something and although car washes might not be your child’s cup of tea, it doesn’t mean my son doesn’t see something magical about them.

Sometimes the idea of having to deal with meanness from people and children for the long haul really gets me down. To see Tot beginning to realize that some kids aren’t laughing “with” him breaks my heart. If he feels this strongly about his car washes, how do you think he feels about everything else? He is this incredible abundance of joy and any time I have to prick that with the reality of the world he is finding his way in just pains me.

 

I think it is such a small favor, such a tiny kind favor, to ask that people try to teach their kids to be kind to others – despite their difference. I’m not asking for anyone’s child to like my son. No one has to play with him and they certainly don’t have to enjoy car washes, but is it too much to ask that they be kind? 

Because honestly, what is the difference between my son’s favorite things and yours?

Manda Signature

 

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