Because Kids Can’t Fight Cancer Alone

Hello my friends!

Kristen Sherlock here from Salt Lake City, UT. It has been a very long time since I last wrote. Adjusting to our newest Sherlock Addition has taken time, but I assure you, this has been time well spent. Don’t worry, I have taken pictures–lots pf pictures!–to document all the awesome highs and low lows that comes with a family of six people. You will be bombarded with them soon. I promise.


HopeToday I am writing about a topic that is personal to me, and of a serious nature: Childhood Cancer Awareness. Did you know that September is the National Childhood Awareness Month in the United States? Yeah… me neither. To be frank with you, it wasn’t until recently that I became aware of the severity of childhood cancers.


According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, “in the US, 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. A diagnosis turns the lives of the entire family upside down. The objective of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is to put a spotlight on the types of cancer that largely affect children, survivorship issues, and – importantly – to help raise funds for research and family support.”


In 2008, the day September 13th, specifically, was recognized as “National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day” as a result of a Senate resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).


Medications and Monitors“Never before in history has the dream of eliminating childhood cancer been so attainable, yet seemed so elusive,” said Senator Allard. “We live in a nation where the effectiveness of treatments and technology offer hope to children who dream of a bright future. Each case of childhood cancer is a very personal tragedy that can strike any family with children, at anytime, anywhere. In setting aside September 13th to recognize this battle on cancer, we continue of our efforts to draw attention to the victims of childhood cancer and the great work of the families and organizations who continue the fight.”
“We have made tremendous strides in the fight against childhood cancer, but far too many children still suffer and lose their lives to this illness. The more we know as a nation the better able we will be to prevent and treat the disease and help those who are battling and surviving pediatric cancers.  National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day is an opportunity to reach out to all Americans with the facts about childhood cancer, and this day will be an important symbol of our commitment on all days to find a cure,” said Senator Clinton.
Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer and the second overall leading cause of death of children in the United States. Increasing awareness is the first step to raising more advocacy and support for childhood cancer programs and research. Sadly, too few people know how dire the situation is for these children and their families.

Ally in Sun Hat

One such child, one such family, is the adopted daughter of my brother- and sister-in-law named Allyson. Allyson was born with Down Syndrome, which can seem scary to some people, but not to my brother- and sister-in-law Matthew and Emma. They jumped at the chance to bring this beautiful baby girl into their family. The adoption of Allyson was finalized in March 2013. In July 2013, she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia of Down Syndrome (AML).

Allyson began treatment in September 2013, and after six long rounds of chemotherapy, and nine months in Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada, Allyson was declared in full remission.
Recently, July 2014, a routine checkup showed some abnormalities in Allyson’s blood.  After a bone marrow aspiration test, Matthew & Emma were informed that Allyson had relapsed.  Allyson is currently undergoing two more rounds of chemotherapy in hopes that a bone marrow transplant can be completed after her treatments.
AllyPlease, if you haven’t already done so, go read the most recent update on Allyson’s care, check out her pictures, and share this message with your friends and family. Her account is here:
Allyson is one of the many waiting for a bone marrow donor, and is facing a long road of fighting and surviving. I have seen the toll this cancer has taken upon her little 2.5 year-old body, and the strain it has placed on her mother, father and brother. Allyson, like many others, needs your and my help, because kids can’t fight cancer alone.
Please join me during the month of September to advocate and make others aware of Childhood Cancer. Please help me help my niece Allyson, because, again, kids can’t fight cancer alone.

If Coca-Cola were to Make an Honest Commercial…

Wow – now here is a message! Do you drink Coca-cola products? How many a week?

I wrote once (long, long, long ago) a series of posts about the amount of sugar in commonly consumed beverages and food that is leading to an increase in health related concerns across North America. The first, Unhealthy America, was about a trend I noticed while visiting a children’s museum in a Western United States city. The second post, Unhealthy America Part I: Stress, was a post about the science behind stress-induced health concerns in adults. The third and fourth post, Unhealthy America Part II: Trends in Obesity and Unhealthy America Part III: Obesity & Type II Diabetes, demonstrated the connection between comforting eating, caloric intake and body mass index (BMI).

I recognize that Coca-Cola is not solely at fault. There are other beverage companies and mass-food production companies world-wide that create their consumable merchandise as cheaply as possible to keep their retail prices low. To issue blame on any one company for the unhealthy state of our society is faulty logic, at best.

We (society) ask for foods that taste sweet (or salty).

We (society) want “treats” not as a once-a-day item or once/ twice a week, but before, with, and after every meal.

In other words, we are asking for their products… and we don’t want to pay a lot of money for their products either.

I know this post (and attached video) is called “If Coca-Cola were to Make an Honest Commercial…” but to be honest myself, as much as I LOVE this short video, I don’t think Coca-Cola is entirely at fault. I think the blame falls on the person looking back at us in the mirror. The person who can’t (or won’t) control their appetites and desires.

Thanks for listening to my soap-box.

Here is the video by John Pemberton that he titled “The Honest Coca-Cola Obesity Commercial”.

Please share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you. ~Kristen

The ABCs of Physical Literacy, By Keri-Ellen Walcer

The ABCs of Physical Literacyreachwithtom

By Keri-Ellen Walcer

When my daughter was born, I was flooded with emotion.  I looked into her eyes and felt a deep sense of responsibility.  In the days following her birth I was overwhelmed by thoughts of all the things in this world that could hurt her and I wanted to protect her from them. The frightening fact is that we are living in a time where our children have a shorter life expectancy than us[1]. The culprit: lifestyle choices leading to poor health outcomes. Did you know that in Canada 21% of toddlers are obese?

That’s why when I started preparing my daughter for school by teaching her the alphabet, I also taught her the ABC’s of physical literacy to prepare her for lifelong health and fitness. These skills are classified in three different categories Agility, Balance and Coordination. Giving our little ones the recommended 90 minutes of daily physical activity takes effort but here are some simple activities that you can start to incorporate today.

Agility: Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick

How many times per day do you find yourself saying, “be careful”, “don’t run” and “slow down”? Try not to say it so often. Agility is defined as being able to change the body’s position quickly and efficiently.  We need to give our children opportunities to practice this skill. Try getting out a flash light and dim the ceiling lights in your house. Put on a little mood music and flash circles of light on the floor, ask your child to jump on the light beams as you quickly move them from one place to another.  Even young crawlers will enjoy this activity by trying to grab the lights on the floor.

Balance “I’m a little teapot”

There are two kinds of balance, one is standing still and the other is while moving. Balance is an important skill to develop and does not happen by itself. Games such as hop scotch, hopping on one foot and two feet are great. Another fun way to develop balance is through dance and yoga activities. Do you remember the rhyme I’m a little teapot? ”I’m a little teapot short and stout”, stand with your child, feet wide apart, “Here is my handle, here is my spout”, put one hand on your hip and one hand stretched out,”When I get all steamed up hear me shout” on the words “tip me over and pour me out”, gently help your child to tip one way while bringing the opposite leg off the floor, practice this on both sides.

Co-Ordination- Wiggle it!

Co-ordination is about being able to control all of your body parts while doing a variety of activities. One of the all time most effective ways to promote overall body co-ordination is through dance and music. Giving your child opportunities to shake a rattle, or beat a tambourine while dancing to some favorite tunes is fun, easy and inspirational. On a cold or cloudy day, why not gather in the living room and have a dance party?

Do it Together

Fitness is a family affair, you are your children’s first teacher, and they will follow you for better or worse. When you have begun to find meaningful ways to keep yourself and your children active, invite your friends, join together to move your community into better health. You will find that you can inspire each other and have a great time doing it.

It is not too late for us to reverse the trend of childhood obesity and to give our children a healthy foundation for a long life. Now you know your ABC’s, next time will you move with me?

[1] New England Journal of Medicine February 2010


Keri-Ellen is a children’s fitness ambassador and founder of MusiGo Inc. best known for Wee Wigglers: Fresh musical fitness for preschoolers. Keri-Ellen is also a professor of Recreation and Leisure services at Durham College. She currently resides in Bowmanville, Ontario with her husband and four children.