Families of children diagnosed with cancer rarely have a day off. Even when the cancer is in remission, the fear of it recurring is as real as the lingering effects. Problems like ringing in their ears, ghost pain from surgeries and daily check-ins the mirror for any outward signs a visible form of cancer might show. The less visible cancers that attack internal organs—liver, kidney, stomach, brain and prostate—are just as worrisome and constant testing and retesting is required to act quickly in the event of a return.
A day off from cancer might seem like a simple request and the American Cancer Society’s Courageous Kids Day is just that—a “day off from cancer.”
In 1989, Gay Crawford’s co-worker’s son was diagnosed with Leukemia. “It put my life in perspective, and it showed me what really difficult challenges the entire family faces when they have a child with cancer,” Crawford explained.
She assembled volunteers to stage a picnic for kids with cancer and their families utilizing her network in Silicon Valley and the support of the American Cancer Society (ACS). That event became Courageous Kids Day and as the event’s founder, Crawford, still volunteers with the ACS to help make the day a success.
Over 600 kids currently in cancer treatment or in remission and their families from throughout California and parts of Nevada—about 3,000 people total—were invited. Courageous Kids and their families were treated to a “day off” that included a picnic lunch, entertainment, celebrity visits from former SF 49er Ronnie Lott, the winners of the Miss Santa Clara pageants and the Harlem Globetrotters, a day of fun at California’s Great America, and new friends also coping with cancer. The day allowed brothers, sisters, friends and cousins of Courageous Kids to enjoy time with their loved ones. To learn more about the American Cancer Society, please visit their webpage: cancer.org