DES MOINES, Iowa –If you look around the community, you’ll notice gold ribbons on Facebook profiles and people’s shirts. Most people associate pink with October in honor of breast cancer awareness. This month, families of kids fighting cancer want you to go gold.
It sounds like Emma Reinhart could be a teacher, as she talked to a group of younger kids. “Your favorite color is red? My favorite color is purple,” she said.
While the 14 year-old doesn’t lead a classroom, she has plenty of lessons to share with these kiddos. “I had septic shock, so then within 24 to 48 hours I was on a ventilator intubated and stayed that way for 17 days,” she said.
That was just one nearly deadly complication from cancer. Emma was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia nearly two years ago. “Right now, I only go to the clinic once a month for everything. Every three months I have a spinal tap to make sure everything is good, and once a month I go to regular chemo.”
Through her journey, she lost her hair but kept her smile, got sick from the medicine meant to make her healthy, and gained a whole new perspective on childhood cancer. “My family, I don’t think we knew anyone before I got diagnosed and then after I got diagnosed we just started seeing all these kids who had it, and so it opened our eyes a lot more.”
Now she knows many kids with cancer, and her mom said they’ve all become very close. “They’re just your family. They become a part of you. They’re an extension of you,” said Steph Reinhart.
Emma is set to finish her treatment in February, but the high school freshman has other things on her mind this fall. “I’m back in dance, competition and softball.”
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is signified by the color gold.