Poets for a Cause Spotlight: Elizabeth Diane Daniel
The beauty of poetry is how it can shed light on so many topics in such unique ways. Poets often use their pens to give a voice to the causes that matter the most to them, and we can all benefit from joining in larger conversations about them. In this installment of Poets for a Cause, I got to chat with Elizabeth Diane Daniel about a topic that is extremely dear to her heart: childhood cancer.
“A topic that I try to shed light on through my poetry is childhood cancer. Children wage war against cancer every day. The kids are often the ones who raise awareness and funds for themselves and other kids. Why? Because they only get 4% of the national budget, 4% for all the cancers affecting children! There’s a misconception that it’s rare, but it’s not. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 19 in the U.S. There are 300,000+ cases every year. I’ve grown to love so many childhood cancer warriors, survivors, and angels gone too soon. Social media crossed my path with so many beautiful heroes. I’ve been blessed to meet some of them in person. No matter how long I’ve known them, they’ve got my heart always. Hopefully one day soon, childhood cancer will be a thing of the past.” –Elizabeth Diane Daniel
The statistics are heartbreaking, and it was really eye-opening to talk with Elizabeth about funding and other obstacles that these children have to face in their battles with cancer. Their stories have had such a huge impact on her writing and her heart. She has met so many brave kids in the middle of their battles with cancer, and they have inspired her to fight alongside them for a cure.
That process includes fighting for funding that can lead to breakthroughs in life-saving research. I asked Elizabeth if she had a poem related to her cause and she shared this beautiful piece with me about the sad realities of cancer treatment and how much it has changed the lives of so many children. Instead of worrying about what to play on the playground, they are thrown into a world of hospitalizations and illnesses. Her poem is a much-needed reminder to all of us to take action, to help where we can, and to stand up and support the families and patients who are fighting this battle every day.
We check for creatures under the bed
Never thinking the monster hides inside instead
Stealing the youth, one by one
While we talk of preserving the future
Isn’t it ironic?
Wake up world!
If children are our most valuable resource
Why aren’t we fighting for cures?
Why are they the least funded?
Four percent doesn’t begin to cover
Why are there harsh chemicals coursing through
Where are the new medications?
Where is the public outcry?
We should be ready for battle
Cancer never sleeps
How can we?
Cancer is stealing the innocent
How can we sit by and watch?”
I really admire Elizabeth’s passion for raising awareness and being a voice for those who are hurting and battling this awful disease. You can sense the emotion and sincerity that is overflowing from her poem as well as the urgency and the call to action. She shared with me her hopes that one day, childhood cancer will be a thing of the past. Her poem speaks to that hope and to her desire to continue to raise awareness and make a change in the community.
Elizabeth shared another wonderful foundation with me called “Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer Foundation Inc”. Their primary goal is to continue to raise global awareness and to empower and equip individuals to make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer.
Change won’t happen overnight, but it is through awareness and compassion that we can show up for causes like this that matter so much. I hope this feature has shed some much-needed light on this topic and inspired you to look into the different foundations and ways to get involved in the fight against childhood cancer.
If you know someone who would be a great featured “Poet with a Cause,” please contact Liz Newman with details.