Wearing A Mask Infringes on Your freedom? Tell that to a Childhood Cancer Patient

Do you ever just choose to see the good in people? No matter what you know about them or who they’ve shown themselves to be, you always try and choose the good? That’s what I do. Maybe a little naïve on my end, but it’s worked out more times than it hasn’t, so I try and stay with that same mindset. So… color me shocked when I’ve seen things like “wearing a mask infringes on my freedom!” and actual PROTESTS about not wearing masks during a world wide pandemic. Let me give you a little insight as to why, if you’re one of those people who think like that, I think you are absolutely wrong and incredibly selfish.

IMAGINE. Yes- this requires you to not think about *just yourself* for a few minutes, but others as well. Imagine you’re sitting in the ER with your child who has been sick on and off, but nobody seems to know what’s wrong. Tests after tests after tests and… a cancer diagnosis is punched right in your gut. It takes the breath out of your lungs immediately and it’s everything you can to stop the tears from forming a puddle underneath your feet. You can’t catch a breath. Your future flashes before your eyes and you don’t like the uncertainty of what you’re feeling. Heck, you’d take their place right now if you could and you’d do ANYTHING in the world to protect them. Literally anything.

Now flash to 2 weeks later and your child received 7 days of chemotherapy, wiping out their immune system. It’s high enough to go home, but low enough that if they caught a cold or covid-19, they would end up right back in the hospital. You let it sink in that a COLD could kill your child. A cold that 3 months ago meant nothing to any of you in the family because… it’s a cold. But now? The thought of a cold is terrifying to you. You want to wrap your baby up in a bubble and let them come out when treatment is over. And since you can’t do that… you do everything in your power to help them not catch a cold or a virus. You buy them an n95 mask to wear at all times outside of the house. You and your family all have masks you wear. Bleach wipes are the new Chapstick, you have them everywhere you go. No visitors, no playdates, no outings unless necessary. Protect protect protect. Until their immune system is up and running, lockdown it is.

The first time you put the mask on your child, they fought a little bit. They don’t understand why they have to wear a mask, but they adapt pretty quickly. Children are resilient and adapt better to situations than most of us do. Now, wearing a mask is like wearing a shirt to them. It took a little bit of getting used to, but as the weeks and months went by, it’s literally not even a thought in their head. If they go out in public, they wear a mask.

It’s pretty amazing really- how a 5 year old can wear a mask as long as needed without touching it or complaining about it, without having a clue as to why, but an adult is standing outside of the courthouse in the middle of a pandemic without a mask saying that wearing a mask infringes on their freedom.

It’s pretty amazing how a 4 year old can be on the brink of walking outside, but turn back inside and say “my mickey mask!” without knowing WHY she’s wearing it, but an adult is standing in Trader Joes throwing items out of her cart because someone is asking her to wear a mask for the safety of others.

It’s incredible how a 16 year old, newly diagnosed with cancer, missing out on PRIME TIME years of high school and sports, can put on his new mask with little complaint because he knows if he gets sick, things could spiral out of control… but there are adults who are deliberately running up on other customers to cough in their face because they’re asked to put a mask on.

I… I don’t have a lot of words for the inhumaneness I am seeing out of some people in our country. And yes, I said inhumane. A word I don’t take lightly when I use it.

You know who’s freedom it infringes upon when they have to wear a mask? KIDS WHO GET DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER. KIDS WHO HAVE TERMINAL ILLNESSES. KIDS WHO HAVE RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES WHO HAVE BEEN WEARING A MASK SINCE THEY COULD WALK. If ANYONE has the right to complain, it is that group of people. But they don’t. You know why? Because they realize the severity of the consequences that could happen if someone like the woman in Pier One coughs in their face. They realize in order to keep themselves and other people safe, it starts with them.

Kids can understand this, without even understanding it. Why can’t you?

One day (now), I would like to live in a world where collectively as a nation, we come together and protest that the National Institute of Health only gives childhood cancer research 4% of all federal funding. 4%. That among that 4%, it gets divided into the dozens of childhood cancers. That only a handful of NEW drugs have been developed since 1980 for childhood cancer. That DIPG (a 1% survival rate) brain tumor, is treated the same today as it was in 1962 with Neil Armstrong’s daughter passed away from the disease.

Can we live in THIS world now? The one where we stand up and fight like crazy to protect our children who are dying at a rapid rate from childhood cancer? The one where we stop pretending that 43 kids don’t get diagnosed with cancer a day in the US? The one where we all put on masks and demand change within our healthcare system? The one where if kids get diagnosed with cancer, we can treat them with less toxic drugs that won’t cause heart failure in 30 years?

If you’re going to protest about your lack of freedom when it comes to wearing a mask, pretend you’re a 10 year old kid protesting that the government sees them as less than 4%. Maybe we’ll get somewhere.

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Activity to think about:

You’re asymptomatic and don’t even know you have covid-19, so wearing a mask isn’t something you’re willing to do. You’re a “wearin a mask infringes on my freedom” kind of thinker and in the midst of all of this, your friends child gets diagnosed with cancer.

“What can I do to help?” You ask.. and truly mean it.

“Wear a mask from now on, please, I can’t risk any illnesses around our family”. They stutter back, in between all of their disbelief and heartache.

Would you?

If you would, why won’t you now? Because there are 43 families today that will get that dreaded diagnosis. and 43 more tomorrow and the next day. That means in about a week or two, that’s 301 more immunocompromised kids with families who still have to go out in public to survive.

Wearing a mask today, could protect your friends child tomorrow.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

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