WACO, Texas — On average, 47 children are diagnosed with some sort of cancer a day in the U.S.
The month of September is dedicated to raising awareness about childhood cancer and the resources available to those families who have to face this unimaginable situation.
For one Waco family, the support of organizations, doctors and the community helped them get through their daughter’s cancer diagnosis.
Five years ago, Megan Woods’ world stopped.
“Just feeling like you got the rug pulled out from under you,” Woods said.
Her five-month-old daughter Piper, was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was really changing for me as a parent but also having to watch my child who at the time was only 5 months old subjected to a bunch of things you don’t want your child to be,” Woods said.
Piper went through different treatments for months and Megan had to make difficult decisions for her daughter’s health.
“When the family is going through it, the biggest thing is that their world stops. It doesn’t keep functioning in a normal manner while everything else around them continues at the same speed,” Woods explained.
But, it's organizations like the Community Cancer Association in Waco that are dedicated to helping lessen the stress of cancer on families and patients in any way that they can.
“Kids are resilient. I think we could learn from them with the things that they are facing,” Terry Hunt, Executive Director for the Community Cancer Association.
The CCA provides support to cancer patients in different ways such as financial support, helping provide patients with supplies or transportation costs.
“It takes a village and I don’t think I ever truly understood what that meant until this diagnosis where we had complete strangers giving us their love and care and support and just their undivided attention,” Woods said.
Now, five years later, Piper has no evidence of disease and just started kindergarten.
And while this experience is something Woods doesn’t wish on anyone, she has learned to never take anything for granted.
“Hold your kids a little tighter at night,” Woods said. “You don’t always have that time, you don’t know what tomorrow is going to have so just trying to make the most of your day with your kids, with your family.”