Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An Open Letter to Mothers Who Don't Vaccinate


Dear Moms who do not vaccinate your children,

You and I have more in common than you might think. My children are my sun and moon. I know you love your children extravagantly too.  Like me, I believe you would go to any extreme if it could ensure your child a long and safe life. I feel the exact same. Yet on the issue of vaccines, we differ.

I would vaccinate my children if I could. My daughter Grace is currently unvaccinated because I am not given the choice. Grace was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia a few weeks after her fourth birthday. It was the day time stood still for my family and me. Because of her cancer she is the most susceptible to catching diseases, the most likely to die from them, yet she is not allowed to have vaccines to prevent them. The irony of the situation is not lost on me. 

Before cancer became a member of our family I was on the fence about vaccines. I have never seen a case of polio or measles but I have seen plenty of children with autism. I was hesitant to trust “traditional medicine” but I was very comfortable using herbal and homeopathic remedies. I even grew our own organic vegetables. It just seemed the claims against vaccines were so accusatory, so loud, so confident. Everyone had an opinion. I didn't know who to trust.

When cancer hit we researched every kind of treatment for Grace. My husband and I decided we would use whatever worked, traditional or alternative, as long as it had documented proof of working consistently. Grace had a 20% chance of survival and we were willing to do whatever it took to get her a cure. We researched herbal remedies, including marijuana. We researched juicing, vitamins, raw foods, cooked foods, essential oils, you name it…no one could prove they consistently cured children of cancer. But chemotherapy did. Dreaded chemotherapy, the treatment we both hate and love, became our answer. It would bring Grace’s survival rate up to 80%. That was the day we decided to start trusting traditional medicine.

But it wasn't just medicine I didn't trust. I thought doctors were “in it for the money” and that they skewed research results in order to get funding from pharmaceutical companies. Now we had to trust doctors for the life of our daughter. Because of cancer we got to know our medical team very intimately. We spent over one hundred days living at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (not to mention the days we spent there for outpatient treatment). I can’t speak for all doctors, but the doctors and nurses who work at children’s hospitals are there for the kids. Nothing else. They work tirelessly with cranky kids, exhausted parents, and with dying children that the doctors know they shouldn't get emotionally attached to, but they do anyways. Because they love kids.

And after they finished taking care of my daughter for the day, they went home and took care of their own children. They went from being our medical team to family. I found that everything that was said about them was wrong. I discovered that doctors recommend certain medicines for a reason. It’s because they want children to have the best chance at survival and to have healthy and happy lives. They don’t have a hidden agenda. They don’t rely on wishful thinking or hopeful remedies. They use what works. I wouldn't trust doctors to save my life. I trust them even more than that. I daily trust them to save my daughter’s life.

I wouldn't wish what we've gone through on my worst enemy. We saw our daughter too sick to eat, too weak to play, too tired to smile. We spent sleepless nights wondering if we would hear our beautiful daughter’s laugh in the morning. There is no pain like seeing your child suffer while fighting for their life.

Actually…there is one pain worse, and that’s only the anguish of finding out that you could have prevented it. I know I did everything to prevent my daughter from getting cancer and cancer still found her.  I would give anything to have my daughter vaccinated today. I would do anything to spare her from disease.

There are vaccines for your child. You can protect them from having to fight for their lives against life threatening diseases. These diseases are monsters. They steal life from even the bravest and strongest of children.  Please don’t risk your child’s life. You can do what I can’t. You can vaccinate and save your child from suffering or even death.

From one mom to another, if you have the chance to save your child from a life threatening disease, please, please, from the bottom of my heart, please…vaccinate your child.

Very sincerely,
Melissa Bumstead, aka Gracie’s Mommy
Read more about Gracie here: www.TeamGraceEllen.com

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