SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Just four percent of money spent on cancer research is dedicated to treating childhood cancer, according to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. A push for more funding happens every September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
At Memorial Health, physicians are celebrating with a 4-year-old boy, Carter Cummins. On Tuesday, he rang the bell to celebrate one year of stable brain scans and a life without chemotherapy.
“For the first time in two years, we have taken a breath, a deep breath,” said his mother, Erin Cummins of the experience. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Cummins says she took her son, Carter, to doctors when she noticed he started losing weight. At 18 months old, it was expected, but Cummins said she knew something was wrong.
“I was concerned. They say a mom’s gut instinct is not something that you ever ignore and so I did not ignore mine,” said Cummins.
After weeks of tests, doctors scanned Carter’s brain and found a tumor the size of a golf ball on his brain.
“We grieved. We still grieve sometimes now, but you just have to pick yourself back up… and you fight for them because you are their voice and they don’t have anyone else to fight for them,” said Cummins.
That fight ended Tuesday for the Cummins on a grassy lawn at Memorial Health: the same place where the family spent some time after Carter’s initial diagnosis.
“To see his smiling face running around in that grass again, it’s hard to put into words,” said Cummins. “It’s something that we’ve been looking forward to, something that at times we didn’t think we were even going to get to this moment, so to be here and to see him so happy is everything.”
Memorial Health is celebrating the month with a donation to CURE Childhood Cancer. The organization funds pediatric cancer research and provides resources to patients and their families.
The partnership between the organization and the hospital has lasted for years. Despite the pandemic this year, Memorial Health donated 10 thousand dollars.
“It really bails them out of a hole at a really really difficult time in life, ” said CURE Childhood Cancer Area Director Mandy Garola. “Right now, these families have already been given the devastating blow of childhood cancer and then now with COVID on top of that… it’s a devastating blow on top of the devastating blow.”