September brings autumn and the excitement of gamedays, but it also embodies something much greater.
It is the month of childhood cancer awareness — a disease that 175,000 kids worldwide are diagnosed with each year, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Christy Cochran, cancer survivor and local Auburn artist, is using her passion to give back. On Sept. 1, she displayed her art at The Local Market and donated 22 percent of her sales to St. Jude’s.
So far, she has raised $400 and hopes to continue this throughout September.
“My craft making is a form of free therapy,” she said, making an assortment of cards, hand-sewn and crocheted toys, headbands and bibs.
Cochran has recently started crocheting hats for children with cancer through the group Hooked on Homemade Happiness.
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At age 2, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and treated in Norfolk, Virginia. On Nov. 11, 1995, Cochran was officially cured.
This year will mark her 23rd anniversary, and she said there is much to celebrate.
Today, more than 80 percent of children with cancer survive five years or more, according to the American Cancer Society.
In the mid-1970s, only 58 percent of children were expected to have this same survival rate.
“[Children with cancer] are resilient,” Cochran said. “They might not understand why they have to go through these tests that hurt, but they are strong. They deserve everything that we can give them.”
Still, pediatric cancer isn’t defeated. It is the second leading cause of death in children from ages 1 to 14.
Survivors may also suffer long-term effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatment and are at a higher risk of having cancer later in life.
“It is important for people to be aware and help out if they can,” Cochran said. “There has always been cancer, but it is becoming more and more prevalent in our society.”
Cochran’s goods can be found at The Local Market, located inside J&M Bookstore, or on her Etsy store, “ADashofExcitement.”
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