Three weeks before 10-year-old Malia succumbed to cancer, her family went to Disney World thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation. While there, they ate ice cream for breakfast at the resort. “Why don’t we always do this?” said Malia. “This is awesome!” That was four years ago. Today, February 18, would have been Malia’s 14th birthday. To honor their daughter’s memory, the Paterson family has declared this day to be International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. What started two years ago as family and friends posting photos on a Facebook page, has grown into an international campaign with participants from over 83 different countries. During the 14 months Malia fought the disease, her family became aware of how lonely life can be for the families of children with cancer. “It was a really tough time. It’s really lonely,” said Annette Peterson, Malia’s mother. “When you’re in the hospital with a child with cancer there’s a lot of restrictions on visitors because they are really prone to infections. So, these families, they feel isolated.” The Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast campaign grew out of desire to show patients and families that they are not alone. The site does not ask for money or support of a particular organization. Rather, it seeks to raise awareness for kids with cancer. And perhaps, to make children battling the disease smile at the pictures. The response has been incredible. “They’re not alone,” said Peterson. “There’s a whole world of people out there who care that this is hard and just want to come alongside them and help.” You can join the cause too. Grab a bowl of ice cream and post a picture of yourself eating it for breakfast on Facebook. Use the hashtags #icecreamforbreakfast and #kidsgetcancertoo to join the international effort to support children with cancer.
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