WASHINGTON - As September is pediatric cancer awareness month, there is still much more to be done in the fight against this devastating disease.
"Every day in the United States 38 children are diagnosed with cancer, and that has incredible ripple effects not just on the child but on the child's parents. Their livelihoods, their siblings, their classmates. So it's a very important time to raise awareness to this important issue," said Dr. Jeffrey Dome with the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's National.
While the survival rate for pediatric cancer is now 85 percent, there are still many families who lose a child to cancer. Virginia mom Sharday Richardson lost her daughter Moriah just before her fifth birthday.
And as so many of these small-but-mighty patients continue to fight, The Moriah Foundation comes to bring some joy to the lives of kids and their families while they're battling the toughest odds.
"The foundation was created this year, it was in honor of my oldest daughter Moriah who passed in 2013. The main program of the Forever Moriah Foundation, the Making Memories Wish-Granting program, is for children ages one to 18 years old that are terminally or critically ill," said Richardson.
Richardson says her own daughter Moriah was given nine months to a year to live.
"That day I remember like it was yesterday, of course, it was not something that I was expecting. My whole world changed. My family's whole world changed."
She says if a child has a birthday celebration coming up or some sort of treatment that they're finishing, whether it be radiation or chemotherapy, she throws a big party for their families to celebrate.
Richardson is throwing a party for many of the patients at Children's National Hospital. Richardson says she is doing this work to keep her daughter's memory alive.
"Moriah was so important that my life. I really wanted to even though she's not here anymore to still be able to have her legacy live on through what I'm doing as her mother."
Richardson has since had two other children, who have never had a chance to meet their big sister. She even wrote a book called "The Sister I Never Met" for her own children to explain to them about their sister Moriah, through a story of overcoming loss with strength.
In thanks to Richardson and all that she does for others, FOX 5 and Easterns Automotive Group is giving something back to a mom who helps bring joy to so many families, despite her own loss.
Joel Bassam of Easterns Automotive Group presented Sharday with a Spa Day. Easterns will also be paying for the next party Sharday throws with the Forever Moriah Foundation for all the children in the pediatric cancer center at Children's.
If you know someone who should be featured on Pay It Forward, you can nominate them here. In your email, be sure to include who they are and why they deserve to be recognized.