September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and last week we dropped our 3rd Childhood Cancer Awareness Collection with the help of our friend, Megan Bugg. The designs are inspired by More Than 4, a phrase fueled by action and one that Megan is very passionate about. Currently, less than 4% of federal dollars for cancer research are dedicated to researching cures for childhood cancer.
Year after year Megan—an 18-year-old powerhouse battling stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma—serves as an amplified voice for kids suffering from childhood cancer. Why? Because as one they (she) simply deserves MORE than 4%.
"It’s my job to educate everyone and share my journey of how brutal childhood cancer is so that no kid ever has to experience what I have."
Every year when working with Megan we get to brainstorm design ideas with her and make then come to life. This year our collection features a More Than 4 short sleeve tee, long sleeve tee and Tervis tumbler, 10% of net sales will be donated to support two different childhood cancer research projects being conducted at Luries Children's Hospital.
We also get the opportunity to talk about her last year in review: goals, struggles, accomplishments, fun memories and more. We have been lucky enough to get to know Megan and in turn we get to share with you. She is a true inspiration, an influential voice and an advocate for change.
Ivory Ella: For some who may not know, who is Megan Bugg? The past couple of years we have been so lucky at Ivory Ella to be able to collaborate with you and help make your message heard. For others that want to join in on #morethan4 this year, what would you say your biggest goal is?
Megan Bugg: I am a strong and driven young woman who will not stop advocating until a cure is found. My biggest goal is to get more funding than 4%. It has to change.
IE: Can you give us a quick wrap up of all your accomplishments within this past year? We'd love to hear about Curefest! Also, tell us more about your donation to Dr. Walterhouse!
MB: This last year I have been working more on awareness than anything. Getting people to know the statistics of childhood cancer and the suffering that kids have to go through. I had the opportunity to go to Curefest in Washington, D.C., which is a big childhood cancer event to raise awareness and it was truly life changing. I’m so excited to go back this year! I also have been taking action in raising money for a doctor at Luries Children’s Hospital. Overall, I ended up donating a total of $160,000 to his research lab.
IE: Why is important for you to be the voice of other children with childhood cancer?
MB: Being a teenager with childhood cancer I want to be able to be the voice for the little kids who can’t talk or tell people what they are going through. It’s my job to educate everyone and share my journey of how brutal childhood cancer is so that no kid ever has to experience what I have.
IE: What are your goals this year for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Do you have any suggestions as to how others can get involved?
MB: This year my main goal is get get everyone aware and involved somehow. I want to raise more money this month than the past years and get my whole community involved. Anyone can get involved by wearing gold, educating their friends, donating, or simply sharing a childhood cancer fact.
IE: What is something you want others to know about children with cancer? You doing an amazing job at not letting it define who you are, but recognize that it is a part of your life... what helps you cope?
MB: Children with cancer are still receiving treatments that are 50 years old! The chemo is poison and destroying our bodies more than anything. The thing that gets me through each day is knowing that everything happens for a reason and there is a light at the tunnel, some people just have to walk through a longer tunnel.
IE: Do you have any suggestions for anyone that wants to support funding for Childhood Cancer all year (not just the month in September)?
MB: There are always opportunities available. You can donate to St. Jude’s, St. Baldricks or my funding page all throughout the year. Also, volunteering at your local children’s hospital and donating toys and games is always appreciated.
IE: You are a HUGE role model for people everywhere, what are some of your key words of advice/wisdom you'd give to anyone that is sick or facing hard life challenges?
MB: I always go by the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Things will always work out in life it just takes time and we have to be patient. Enjoy the good days and fight through the hard ones.
IE: What do others need to know about Childhood Cancer? A little bit ago I read your post about Miles. Cancer goes beyond the diagnosis and his story is such a powerful example of that. THIS IS CHILDHOOD CANCER, AND IT NEEDS TO STOP, NOW!
MB: Childhood cancer is not just leukemia. There are dozens of main types and hundreds of subtypes. On average, there are an estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth to 19 years of age who are diagnosed with cancer per year in the U.S.
IE: If you don't mind sharing, what are you current battles?
MB: Currently, I am in relapse treatment and just recently started chemo and recently finished radiation.
IE: You went to prom this year AND graduated high school! Can you share those experiences with us?
MB: Getting to experience fun high school events always made me feel like a normal kid and I am so grateful for those days I felt good. I also graduated high school and I worked really hard to make that dream come true! I am now taking the year off and focusing on getting better.
To keep up with Megan, follow her Father's blog - her journey through his eyes. Megan Bugg's Journey