Lately, Piper has been entertaining us by reenacting the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. Adorably, she’ll say, “I’ll huff, and I’ll huff…” before blowing down our pretend house with all her might. Each time it resonates with me. As she plays, she is unaware that there is a big bad wolf threatening her too. And perhaps what her house is made of will matter. Our house is made of love. It is all we had in the beginning, and it is all that matters at the end of the day. As Piper says, it’s “true love forever.” What could be stronger than that?
But as we’ve said before, DIPG is not a fair fight. It’s more vicious than any hungry wolf, and it has been left to roam for too long. When faced with something like DIPG, you have no choice but to brace yourself and fight. You hold on to each other through the gusts. You remain vigilant. But it’s not enough to be strong. You have to believe too. You have to believe that good will prevail somehow, and that breakthroughs are on the horizon.
Fairy tales like the three little pigs and the big bad wolf are used to convey lessons in an easy-to-digest format. The fact that kids are dying from brain cancer every day, and will continue to die, is not a palatable topic to most people. But as we prepare to close out 2017, a year that saw little more advancements to DIPG than the last forty, we have to find a way to face this hard truth.
My hope is that Piper’s smiling, innocent, brave face can convey an important lesson the same way a cautionary tale can. Right now, pediatric cancer research and treatments are nothing more than a house made of straw. We already know that outcome, so let’s do the right thing and grab some damn bricks already. May this great need tug at hearts until we’ve collectively built something stronger for our children, and fast.