Urge your Representative to join CA Representative Joe Baca (43rd District) in supporting this resolution to make December 2012 the Claire Frick Rhabdomyosarcoma Awareness Month. Doing so can help spread awareness for rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a cancer with unknown causes that takes the lives of hundreds of children yearly.
RMS awareness is imperative because of the subtle yet fatal characteristics of the disease. Often, children, parents, and medical professionals are unaware that RMS is present until it is too late. For instance, a child with tumors in the sinuses, the middle ear, or the back of the throat may complain for weeks or months of a stuffy nose, sometimes with nasal discharge. Unlike sinus and throat infections, these tumors usually don’t spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. Other symptoms of RMS can be mistaken as common headaches or as “growing pains,” when really erosion of the skull base is occurring. Additionally, even if RMS is detected and treated, patients with recurrent RMS are still in extreme danger, “half of patients with recurrent RMS will die of their disease within one year of relapse and 90% of patients will die within five years of relapse.” New treatments need to be discovered, and this resolution aims to inspire discovering new treatments and, ultimately, a cure.
In the last 20 months of her life, Claire Frick endured 35 rounds of chemo, 58 days of radiation, 70 days in the hospital, seven surgeries, several MRIs, PET scans, bone scans, and bone marrow biopsies. Diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) when she was 16, a form of cancer which attacks the muscles, tendons, cartilage, and bone, Claire fought valiantly throughout her last 20 months while continuing to sing in her school choir, excel in speech team debates, travel across the country, and maintain top grades.
In honor of Claire, and all the children who are most often the victims of this cancer, I hope you will urge your Representative to cosponsor H.Res 652, which would make December 2012 the Claire Frick Rhabdomyosarcoma Awareness Month.