Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Special Message from Baby Einstein Founder Julie Aigner Clark
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, we’d like to share a guest post from Baby Einstein founder Julie Aigner Clark, a two-time breast cancer survivor who knows all too well of the physical and emotional toll a serious illness takes on a family. She recently wrote a children’s book titled You Are the Best Medicine in order to help parents explain their illness to their kids in a caring way and share her experience on how families can get through it with love, hope, courage, and gratitude. We are deeply moved and inspired by Julie’s story and are happy to share her words with you.
Sometimes it’s hard to say thank you in a way that communicates just how deeply you feel gratitude. Sometimes it’s just too big. When my younger daughter, Sierra, was nine months old she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Three months later, when we took her to one of the leading pediatric neurologists in the country, he gave us a prayer. “I wish I could say this to every parent that walks into my office: your daughter does not have cerebral palsy.” Imagine. Imagine the gratitude that we felt.
It is the same kind of gratitude I felt hearing these words: “Following chemotherapy, there is no evidence of disease in your body.” Thank you, doctor. Thank you for telling me that I will have another birthday, another Christmas, another walk in the sun. Thank you.
Somehow it doesn’t seem enough. Every day I look up at the sky and I say Thank you to the blue or the gray or the white. Every day I am grateful.
It seems to me that the best way to express this is by giving back. And so I try to do it. I’ve made babies smile and have helped children stay safe and now, in the wake of my own cancer diagnosis, I’ve helped children to understand how important love is when someone they know has cancer.
October is breast cancer awareness month, marked by pink ribbons on buildings and races across the country. October is the month that I found out my breast cancer had returned for a second time, and it is also the month I decided to take what was terrible and make it something better.
I wrote You Are the Best Medicine because telling my babies, who are now lovely young women, that mommy had cancer was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Sadly, my experience is not unique. In the United States alone, over 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Many of us have children. Or are children.
For me, the love, support and hope that my kids had during my treatment were critical. In recognizing this, I wrote a children’s book to help other adults with cancer explain to their own children just how strong they make us. We are so grateful to our children for this. And for all the research that has helped cancer survivors and for all the people who run those races and post those ribbons, I am thankful beyond words.
I hope that someday, no one will need this book. I hope it becomes hopelessly outdated. But until then, I am grateful to have been able to help someone through its publication.
Julie Aigner Clark founded The Baby Einstein Company in 1997. She is pleased to be donating 100% of the proceeds of You Are the Best Medicine to UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is happy to announce that Baby Einstein has donated several copies of the book to cancer centers around the country.