September 7, 2016


Maintenance Day 517: A Letter I Will Never Send

Today was supposed to be a great day: our beautiful daughters’ first day of school. While all of the other parents were laughing and encouraging their children, enjoying this special moment, we were pulled aside by the teacher. As she went through the children’s medical records, she discovered that one of the children in Scarlett’s class is not vaccinated. There are many things I would like to say but my conscience stops me. I understand that nothing I say can convince another parent to change their beliefs. It’s not going to matter so what is the point. But when I am upset, I write. So here is my letter to that parent:

This morning, my daughters got dressed
for their first day of school. They had
new outfits that they picked out
themselves. They got their backpacks.
They took their pictures. They smiled
and laughed on their way in to preschool.
They were just like your child.

Except my daughter is not like your child.
My daughter has cancer. She has had a
drill bored into her hips. She has been
poked with a needle more times than
we can count. She has had surgeries,
lost her hair, watched friends die. She
has suffered through sickness and pain.
She has suffered enough.

As parents, we have watched all of this.
We have held her head as her whole
body wretches. We have washed her
bloody hands, raw from the medications.
We have wiped her bottom while wearing
masks and gloves because our own child
is too poisonous for us to touch. We have
worried and cried and planned. We have
neglected our other children. We have
suffered enough.

We have raised money. We have opened
every aspect of our lives to the public to
bring awareness in the hopes of a cure.
We do this, not for our child, but for yours.
We hope to stop this horrible disease in its
tracks. We hope that not one more child is
diagnosed with cancer, not one more child
suffers, not one more child dies. We do
this for society, for the greater good.

Today my daughter went to school.
Tonight, we have to make the decision
of whether or not to send her back
because you did not vaccinate your
child. You put our child at risk with
the decision that you made. Now I
have to make the decision of how I
am going to make my child suffer
even more. Do I risk exposing her to
a disease that is nearly wiped out in
America, brought back by unvaccinated
children? Or do I break her heart and
tell her that she cannot go to school any
more? A “simple” disease like chicken
pox could kill her. We have made enough
decisions in the past two years. Decisions
that our child’s life depended on. You are
forcing us to have to make another decision
that we shouldn’t have to make.

We ask one thing of you after all of our
suffering. Take care of society, think of
the greater good. Vaccinate your children
to protect ours. Vaccines do not cause
autism. Vaccines do not cause cancer.
Vaccines save lives. FACT.

I can call you selfish. I can call you
stupid. I can call you names that are
a lot worse because I am that angry
today. But that won’t help me tomorrow.
You won’t be there to wipe away my child’s
tears because she can’t go back to school
or hold her head as she lays in a hospital
bed dying of measles. Your decision
doesn’t truly affect you. You will probably
never see the ramifications of your actions.
Because we vaccinated our children for
the greater good. We vaccinated our
children to save yours.

I am just a mom, trying to protect her child. The difference is that I have science, facts and statistics on my side. I am angry, sad, hurt and ultimately helpless. I cannot force the school to tell this child’s family to vaccinate or change classes. But I can use my voice to encourage my state to eliminate personal exemptions for school vaccines. I’ll just add this small task to my very short list of things to do.

This will be a letter that I will never send because I am a coward. I will not confront this family (partially because I don’t know who they are). They may never know that my daughter is (or was) in their class. I am too much of a coward to let them know how much they made me and my daughter cry. They will never know how much their decision affected our family.

So I ask you, please think of children like Scarlett when you consider vaccinating. And please pray for Scarlett to make it through the year healthy and safe.

25 thoughts on “September 7, 2016

  1. Jennifer

    I came across your blog via the iflscience page. Thank you for writing this letter, and please consider sharing it. You are your child’s best advocate!
    I have been in your shoes – my daughter was diagnosed with ALL at age 5. Because she was early in treatment and vulnerable (and often at clinic or the hospital), we opted for a district-paid tutor for kindergarten. When it came time to start first grade, Amelia was stable and ready, so we went for it. I took the precaution of writing a letter to the parents in her class describing her medical situation, and requesting they be courteous and keep their kids home when sick, or at least let me know so I could choose to keep her home and safe. Most parents were supportive (the additional desk cleaning and hand washing part of her 504 plan also helped). When it got to be fall, our family was vaccinated for the flu. I didn’t send a letter this time, and not everyone in her class was vaccinated. Like you, I didn’t want to step on anyone’s “personal beliefs”.
    Amelia is ok. She is 5-years cancer-free now. That said, cancer was a secondary threat to influenza – that was the closest we came to losing her, and all because someone thought the flu vaccine a government conspiracy or some such idiotic reason.
    Speak up and keep your kid safe. You can’t insist upon others being vaccinated, but you can appeal to their sense of community and love as fellow parents.
    If I can help in any way, or if you just need to vent, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thinking healing thoughts for you family…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. endlessforms

    For us, its me. I have a lung condition that weakens my immune system. Something as simple as a chest cold or the flu could kill me and leave our 10 year old motherless. That scares me so much – more than being sick.
    A year or so ago, someone in our town flew home from California, not knowing that they’d been exposed to measles at a theme park.
    Even though I’ve been vaccinated, I’m vulnerable, and still had to go to the hospital for treatment – the same hospital that the exposed person went to when they developed measles.
    Hospital workers and patients were exposed in the hundreds.
    I still had to go in. There was no “not going”. I was okay that time.
    I hope to be okay next time.
    I don’t want to leave my daughter yet.
    Thinking of you and your daughter. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When I finished reading your letter I was in tears, I am a father of five and the sole idea of losing something as precious as the life of a child due to the criminal negligence of a bunch of lunatics who belong to a dark age of witchcraft, incest and cannibalism drives me crazy to a point bitter rage. Yes, the anti vaccination unwashed horde belongs in the Stone Age, I am not exaggerating a bit.
    I shared your letter with my followers in twitter, even though almost all of them are Spanish speaking, they unanimously showed sympathy for your child and your family; I also made video denouncing those criminals (IMHO not vaccinating a child is attempted murder, it is a very long shot but I would consult a good criminal lawyer and will try to bring charges against those reckless fools)

    All of my love and respect to you and your family.


  4. Jill

    I wish I could reach through the Ethernet and give you a hug. That’s it. I’m trying to think of something helpful or clever to say, and I know how hard it is to be the mum to a child that’s different, but I can’t put myself in your shoes. All I can do is say you’re a good mum, I hope someone is giving you the support you need, I hope your daughter gets to grow up, and you bet my kids are vaccinated.


  5. I also found your blog via the IFL Science sight. We also have a daughter, aged 4 with ALL (diagnosed the 13 July 2015). She is currently in maintenance. I have only started to read your blog and as we live in France am looking forward to a bit of a compare and contrast.

    She started school the 1st of September. And thankfully all children here are required to be vaccinated before entering school – though we were notified today that a very few doctors do not support vaccines and will falsify the certificates. This will be in my mind.

    If you wish to see how the approach the very standard protocol, you may certainly visit our blog… Which ashamadly hasn’t been up dated since April… We are working on it…



  6. We have chosen to vaccinate our children and I am sure at one point it crossed my mind that by doing so it was also protecting others with little to no immune system, but it wasn’t until I read your letter that I realized just how scary a trip to the park or a day in school really can be. I am sorry that you have to make the decision on whether to send your sweet scarlett to school or keep her home. Just know that whatever you decide, you made the right decision for your family. There is a little girl in my daughters class that wears cute hospital masks everyday. I don’t know why, but you better believe we will be getting the flu shots to protect her. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts in your letter


  7. Please take into consideration this information from the CDC’s website:

    #5: Pediatric cancer
    How many kids in the US are on chemotherapy at any time? I couldn’t find that number, but about 10,000 kids under age 15 are diagnosed with cancer each year (that’s an average of 200 per state), but not all types of cancer respond to chemotherapy.

    {Side thought: as tragic as that number is, the number of new cases of autism diagnosed at the rate of 1 in 68 comes to 58,000 per year, but the real rate today is not 1 in 68. It’s probably double that — the 2014 statistic is based on kids born in 2002 — which is more than 10 times the number of kids diagnosed with cancer.}

    What about vaccinating kids currently on chemotherapy? Their doctors say they’re free to get shots for everything but the MMR and chickenpox, which are given later when they’re in remission. The 7-year-old boy whose father wanted to ban the unvaccinated from his school got his first post-chemo vaccine a few weeks after his story went viral. What was the vaccine? The MMR, of course, because the polio and DTaP vaccines aren’t contraindicated for chemo.

    So which vaccines are contraindicated for kids currently in chemotherapy?

    There are only three vaccines on the childhood schedule that school-aged children currently on chemotherapy can’t get: the MMR, chickenpox, and the nasal FluMist.

    This is from a webite named Fearless Parenting: http://fearlessparent(dot)org/what-about-the-immunocompromised/, but the information is directly from the CDC. I recommend you read it.

    As stated the CDC says your daughter can be vaccinated, just follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC. As far as the vaccines it states a child going through chemo or has cancer can’t receive take this info into consideration:
    -The FluMist is no longer available because it didn’t work and made people contagious because of vaccine viral shedding.

    -The Varicella Vaccine or Chicken Pox has a significant failure rate: Primary Versus Secondary Failure Following Varicella Vaccination: Implications for Interval between Two Doses
    Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 11 February 2013.
    According to the vaccine vial package insert Varicella vaccine sheds live viruses for up to 6 weeks and children can also experience what the CDC calls breakthrough illness aka be infected by the live virus in the vaccine.

    -Arch Intern Med. 1994 Aug 22;154(16):1815-20.
    Failure to reach the goal of measles elimination. Apparent paradox of measles infections in immunized persons. Poland GA1, Jacobson RM.
    Conclusion: The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons. Because of the failure rate of the vaccine and the unique transmissibility of the measles virus, the currently available measles vaccine, used in a single-dose strategy, is unlikely to completely eliminate measles. The long-term success of a two-dose strategy to eliminate measles remains to be determined. http://archinte.jamanetwork (dot) com/article.aspx?articleid=619215 (Notice the date on this study-CDC knew in 1994 that the vaccine wasn’t working)

    The measles vaccine has failed”,(this is in the body of the article) he explained two years ago in a prescient paper, “The re-emergence of measles in developed countries.” “In that paper, he warned that due to factors that most haven’t noticed, measles has come back to be a serious public health threat. Poland sees the need for a major rethink, after concluding that the current measles vaccine is unlikely to ever live up to the job expected of it: “outbreaks are occurring even in highly developed countries where vaccine access, public health infrastructure, and health literacy are not significant issues. This is unexpected and a worrisome harbinger — measles outbreaks are occurring where they are least expected,” he wrote in his 2012 paper, listing the “surprising numbers of cases occurring in persons who previously received one or even two documented doses of measles-containing vaccine.” During the 1989-1991 U.S. outbreaks, 20% to 40% of those affected had received one to two doses. In a 2011 outbreak in Canada, “over 50% of the 98 individuals had received two doses of measles vaccine.”
    Paper: The Re-Emergence of Measles in Developed Countries: Time to Develop the Next-Generation Measles Vaccines? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih (dot) gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905323/
    http://business.financialpost (dot) com/2014/05/01/lawrence-solomon-vaccines-cant-prevent-measles-outbreaks/.
    Dr. Gregory Poland is Professor of Medicine and founder and leader of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. Poland is one of the world’s most admired, most advanced thinkers in the field of vaccinology.

    The CDC has know since the early 1990’s the MMR wasn’t working. Live virus vaccine shedding is something the CDC has kept underwraps for decades. Despite the vaccine being attenuated, the viruses mutate and shed. The CDC finally admitted that with the Flu vaccine last year. Read: The Emerging Risks of Live Virus & Virus Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine Strain Virus Infection, Shedding & Transmission.

    A lot of information to take in but if you want to keep your daughter safe—you need to be wary of Vaccinated People. Even the FDA told the CDC in 2013 that the Pertussis vaccine was spreading Pertussis and that people could be infected by the vaccine. Lots of studies here: Studies Show that Vaccinated Individuals Spread Disease-The Weston A. Price Foundation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • catherinajtv

      Dear Scarlett’s mom – I am sorry that by opening up and sharing your anguish and pointing out what selfish, uninformed [redacted] vaccine refusers are, you are (predictably) ambushed by such an insensitive, self-righteous threat to public health. They know no shame (and no science). I am sorry and am sending a virtual virus shield for your lovely daughter!


    • catherinajtv

      Codetalker: the MMR does not shed from child to child. Measles, on the other hand, do.

      Autism is not “vaccine damage”, it is not cancer.


    • PleaseDon't

      I would rather have all my children have autism than one child with cancer. Your numbers on which are more prevalent are irrelevant. Have a heart. Get your kids vaccinated. Listen to the professionals (aka drs not what you can google).


    • Christy

      Ah, another person that prefers dead children to live.

      And clearly doesn’t understand that vaccines make a person less likely to get the disease, not 100 percent foolproof which is why we need everyone able to be vaccinated to get vaccinated.

      Enjoy the rest of your day Miss/Mr. Pro-Disease.


    • Martin

      That’s not what Poland said. His premise is that the vaccine cannot eradicate measles, but can control it. He strongly recommends vaccinating.

      90% of all measles cases in the USA occur in the unvaccinated.

      The incidence of measles has fallen by over 99%. Poland says we *may* not be able to completely irradicate it.


  8. Acs

    Sorry your child is suffering. My son is sick too. He was born with 3 chds. (Congenital heart defects) taken right after birth for open heart surgery. I may have to make decisions I dread. He was vaccinated up until 9 months. I got a vaccine (whooping cough) at his 9 month appt. And I died. Seized and coded over night. Thankfully he cried, which alerted someone. Tests came back normal. Doctors told me the shot would mess my body up for a few days after discharge. I had 3 more seizures.

    My friend buried her daughter from a vaccine injury last month. It breaks my heart seeing her and how sad she is that her 1 year old passed away from vaccines. In cancer wards in my hospitals, they tell all patients if recently vaccinated to not come in. My friends daughter is having a reaction as i type this. Been suffering since may. 😦 her child is losing weight, throwing up, diarrhea, not playing anymore, no emotions that she normally had…its sad to see 😦

    The outbreak in Arkansas (mumps) were all in vaccinated children only…which means vaccines are not 100 percent effective. Vaccines shed. In fact when my son stopped being vaccinated, he stopped being sick every month. He has not been sick since 9 months. He got over his cold in less then 48 hours, which normally took over a week when vaccinated :)…and his heart rate was more normal at his cardiologist appt.

    Unfortunately vaccines are not a one size fits all. I’m sorry you are going through a lot and I wish the best outcome possible for your sweet child! Having a sickness in a child is a tough fight, and us parents need to be strong for the sake of our babies ❤ keep being strong! Both of you! Both our kids will overcome this and stop will we!


    • Martin

      Most vaccines cannot cause a secondary transmission via shedding.

      Dtap, IPV, hep b, inject flu vax – cannot shed
      MMR – never known to cause a secondary transmission ever. Every outbreak of measles has not been the vaccine strain

      The only vaccines with any risk are rota virus and chicken pox. Even then the risk is tiny. 5 known cases of transmission of chic pox over 10 million doses


    • Martin

      Cancer wards do not exclude the recently vaccinated. You are describing old, outdated information.

      There is no risk of transmission from most vaccines and the current recommendations are that the close contacts of the immune compromised should be vaccinated.


  9. Tracy

    God bless you and you’re family, I can’t imagine the struggle you endure every single day… 😔
    I also wanted to bring some awareness here, maybe it will help protect your baby girl at some point, according the manufactures inserts, live vaccines can shed the virus to those around them for quit some time. Unfortunately, they show no signs or symptoms as they are asymptomatic carriers, this is why we see huge outbreaks at the beginning of school, kids catching up on vaccines. I know we’ve been conditioned to believe that unvaccinated kids spread diseases, but logically, that’s not the case as they most definitely show ALL the signs and symptoms of the disease they carry, in other words, everyone will know and can act accordingly, so scientifically speaking, a child how does not have the disease can not spread it. So the real threat here is the recently vaccinated as they spread it and we don’t even know because there are no signs of it. This is why they tell recently vaccinated to stay away from immunocompromised, well, they don’t tell them that as they shld, but you will see these warning in hospitals etc.
    I wish you and your daughter the best outcome possible. 🙏


  10. Ashley

    I didn’t want to get into some long debate on your page and I most certainly do not want to seem like I am by any means trying to down play the seriousness those who have sick children and what they are going through. I wanted to be the 1st to tell you that regardless of your view on vaccines and that stance. I encourage you to look at an actual insert of a vaccine, I encourage you to read up on how neurotoxins can affect each child differently- I ask that you read on the countless children who die within hours to a few days of receiving just one vaccine. I ask that you understand there is no known “medically sound” way to say this child or that one will be ok or not. I really ask that the doctors of those children who are sick rather than vaccinate the crap out of kids (which by the way if it is a live virus then the vaccinated child will spread it- just like being sick and a vaccinated child should stay home after receiving the vaccine) why aren’t doctors wanting to build up the compromised immune system. Shouldn’t that be the main concern. Watch “the truth about cancer” – I am not against vaccines but after giving birth to a perfectly healthy son and allowing him to receive one shot- set us down a whirlwind of eczema, steroids, antibiotics- I lost months of being able to hold my child because he was in pain and was miserable- one shot and my “Doctor” just wanted to give him more drugs. I demanded tests – he is allergic to wheat, dairy and peanuts. No history of this none! But guess what all these ingredients are in those damn shots and why! Why are there aborted fetuses and money kidneys and DNA of other living being in these shots. My god what have we come to as a society (don’t take my word for it look for yourself) It wasn’t till I found a nutritionist out of the states who built up and detoxed my son that his eczema went away. My daughter had 7 of those shots and haha yes have a flipping reaction. Now she is developing at a slower rate, probably due to the neurotoxins that cross the blood brain barrier – I didn’t want my child vaccinated but I went against what I felt was right and guess who has to deal with all this. There are people out there who have to live everyday with a vaccine injured child, who is going to care for them when they are gone? As the numbers continue to rise who is going to pay for all This!? Could it be we have all be lied to- especially since this so called “anti-vaxx” movement has been around since the early 1900s. I am so incredibly sorry that you are dealing with your own battle, I know you want what is best for your child just as the rest of us do. But vaccines and what people know, where that information is coming from and who is funding it! I want the third party and I want the truth. I am concerned about my epigenome and how these toxins are affecting me and my children and yours. How was I suppose to know that my children would have a reaction to vaccines it was to late and I’ll be damned if I sit here and allow what happened to me happen to another parent. I will show you pictures of him – this country needs a huge wake up call- yes we need to stop damaging our food with GMOs and toxins but we need to stop injecting high amounts into our bodies- we have To build the immune system cut the sugar and get with the program. I hope that you dig deeper and know that at the end of the day both sides are suffering but we as parents have the right to choose – my child shouldn’t be some sacrifice to see if or how they would react just like yours shouldn’t be. My prayers are with you as I know your family is probably dealing with a lot. I pray you find courage and strength PS I am for safe vaccines.


    • Ashley (Science Literate)

      Vaccines shed?! Um no. lol
      Literally plain old MATH disproves that theory.
      Let’s think about this…
      94,654,192 Measles vaccines were administered between 2002 and 2014. So, your claim is that recently vaccinated people can infect others with measles? well, if someone caught measles from vaccine shedding just ONCE every TEN THOUSAND shots, that would have caused an average of 1052 yearly cases of measles between 2002 and 2014. So how many ACTUALLY cases of measles were there? An average of 163/ year. Strange right? How can 90,000,000 vaccines that are supposedly shedding and making others sick only cause 163 cases per year… Answer? THEY DONT. Vaccine shedding does not cause measles infections. Because math. And more importantly, what specifically are you complaining about being SOOO awful on the pamphlet?! Why do you all say “read the insert ” ok… It’s a list of ingredients. Just because you don’t understand them doesn’t mean you need to fear them. Have you ever read the ingredients in an apple?! It’s a long list. With big words. Should we all be afraid of apples too?
      It takes a bold person to come on here and talk to a woman with an immunocompromised child about pseudoscience and act as if you have a shred of a legitimate right to put HER CHILD at risk.
      Legit vaccine reactions happen in LESS THAN one in one million. I don’t care what VAERS or your mom blog or your antivax facebook group says. Less than one in one million. Fact.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Martin

      There have been zero cases of secondary transmission from MMR. Zero

      Dtap, injected flu, hep b, IPV cannot shed. They contain no live pathogens

      You are talking utter nonsense


  11. Sally

    You have no idea why that family chose not to vaccinate their child??? Who are you to call them careless or stupid? Shame on you for thinking your child is the only child with health issues!!!
    Maybe her child has allergies or reacted badly to a previous vaccine… Maybe this film chose to use homeopathic vaccines instead. I can guarantee you this, no parent wants their child to be sick, and as much as we are all concerned by the other kids in the class, why not be concerned by the teachers and teachers aides? What about the other grades? They could all infect your child with whatever germs are all over the school!!!
    Get your head out of your assistance and think about what others may have gone through as well…


    • Martin

      Homeopathy doesn’t work

      Everyone who can be vaccinated should be.

      The relative risk ratios are orders of magnitude in favour of vaccinating

      Yes everyone wants to do the right thing. Some people still choose the wrong thing, through ignorance, gullibility or sheer obstinacy.

      If your going to read the insert please learn some science so you can understand it.

      Vaccinate your damn kids!


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