September is the month to prevent cancer in children. According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, cancer is the No. 1 cause of death from disease for children in America.
When she was 18, Bianca Maderal was diagnosed with stage 3 multifocal anaplastic astrocytoma.
The brain cancer diagnosis changed Bianca’s life, but it didn’t define it.
“Cancer has taught me a lot. I’m not grateful for cancer, but I’m grateful for what it taught me,” she said.
While undergoing multiple surgeries and treatments, Bianca founded Fight Like a Kid, an organization that provides care packages to children in hospitals battling cancer.
“It was basically my therapy. Instead of going to a psychologist or having psychologists come to the hospital, I opened Fight Like a Kid,” she said.
Bianca organizes several rides and events every year. This month she partnered with local schools. Student volunteers prepared baskets for cancer patients in South Florida hospitals.
The baskets are available for children of all ages. They have items such as stuffed animals, gift cards and blankets.
“The students sometimes write little notes and they throw it in the baskets to encourage and motivate the patients in the hospital. When they see other children, other healthy children, helping them through their hardest times, being sick and dying face it helps to know they are not alone,” said Maderal.
For the September ride, Bianca received more than 1,000 basket donations.
Bianca is now 23. She is overjoyed to have survived cancer, but she knows all too well that she must continue to fight for other children who are still going through the hardest days of their lives.
“Never give up, be hopeful, always have a positive attitude, and of course to show cancer it’s cancer’s turn to be scared,” she said.
The next Fight Like a Kid drive is over Thanksgiving. If you would like to donate or volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.