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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month stresses research

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TWC News: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month stresses research
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According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children.

Lisa Pacheco has watched daughter Sara struggle to avoid becoming one of those children.

"We took her to the doctor. She was complaining of stomach pain, and later that afternoon we were sitting in an oncologist's office," Pacheco said.

That same week in March 2008, Pacheco found out Sara had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She was only 3 years old.

Now, almost two years later, she can tell you how many treatments she has had by counting the number of necklaces she made in the hospital.

"The white one was for chemo treatment," Sara said.

It took six months of chemo treatment.

"And this one's for when I lost my hair," she said pointing to a picture of herself.

It's grown back now, but her mom is still proud of the photographs of her at the time, with a smooth head. In the pictures, Sara maintained a smile, but beating cancer wasn't fun.

Her mom said treating a kid with cancer can be tough, because it isn't as common as adult cancer, so treatment isn't as widely available.

"There is a very strong need for medical professionals focused on childhood cancer to be able to collaborate with each other for the purpose of sharing information about treatment protocols that are tailored to children," Pacheco said.

Sara was treated at Dell Children's Medical Center. The facility operates as part of the Children's Oncology Group, along with about 200 hospitals. Since the hospitals share treatment information, it helps kids like Sara stay near home for treatment, instead of being uprooted.

CureSearch helps raise money to make the Children's Oncology Group possible.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the group is holding a walk on Sept. 11 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Hill Country Galleria to raise money for cancer research, and to honor kids like Sara who have been affected. Click here for more information.

"This is part of her and she recognizes that. It's always going to be a part of her. She's proud to some extent of what she's gone through," Pacheco said.

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