Megan Bugg is back and louder than ever. This year’s Childhood Cancer Collection is all about AWARENESS and you get to learn the ins and outs from Megan herself. We talked to Megan and her father, Kent Bugg, about her last year: she’s finished treatment, has grown even stronger, made a new collection and is the voice for families and children everywhere who are battling childhood cancer. She is MORE THAN 4, and you can be too. [To learn more about Megan’s background, view our blog post from last year: I Am Megan]
Follow along as we dive deep into a Q+A; where Megan never shies away from being candid. Her father also talked with us as he speaks from his perspective and fights alongside his ever so powerful daughter. Together, their voices and family bond will make a difference and they are asking all of us to join the fight.
Q: What is the difference between this year’s collection and last years? Specifically the, “more than 4” aspect and why you wanted that phrase on the items.
Megan Bugg: Last year was based on things that were more meaningful and calming to me. For example: the mountains and cool colors. This year, it's all about awareness, that’s why I chose the colors white and gold and the saying, "more than 4." All kids deserve more than 4% of federal government cancer research funding, which is all we get and we need to change that.
Kent Bugg: Right now only 4% of federal government cancer research funding goes to childhood cancer. Megan is determined more than ever to get the federal number to be more than 4%.
Q: What is your hope for this year’s collection compared to last years?
MB: My hope is that it spreads awareness. When someone is wearing shirt, I want others to ask, “Why?” or “What does that mean?” I hope that this collection brings in more sales than last year and I hope more people will realize why we need more than 4% of federal cancer funding and who it is actually affecting.
KB: The first time Megan did this partnership the focus was on her journey and what it meant to her and I’m really proud because what Megan has done this year is really expand her fight beyond herself. She doesn't want it to be about herself, she is fighting for all kids and families that are affected.
Q: Since we talked last, what have you surprised yourself most with?
MB: I reached my $100K goal donation for Dr. Walterhouse who works at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. He is specifically researching Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (what I was diagnosed with) and Ewings Sarcoma. His focus is on why children become resistant to chemo and how we can create a drug to change that.
KB: The biggest thing I’ve noticed since she’s gotten through her treatment is the way that she has focused on extending her fight for all kids. She is so focused on ending this nightmare for anyone that is living it. She truly is helping kids and families that are going through the same thing. Her voice is advocating for all of them.
Q: Overall, how do you feel? How have you grown within the last year?
MB: I have been feeling really well. I have a lot more energy and I just started my senior year of high school. I feel better than I ever have in the last couple of years. I definitely changed from last year because I’m getting stronger and advocating even more for childhood cancer; I want to find a cure for everyone, not just me. I wake up every day excited to fight.
Q: Within the past year, what is the best news you’ve received so far?
MB: I think the best news is that I reached my $100K goal or when I found out that Dr. Walterhouse’s research is going further. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is interested in his work and has asked him for some cells to research further. They’ve been very interested in the cells he’s been working with, which is a huge step in moving his research forward.
Q: What is one thing you’ve done that you never thought you’d be able to do?
MB: I will be able to graduate with my class, which has been my goal ever since I started treatment because I fell behind very quickly when I first got sick.
Q: Have any of your goals changed, if at all?
MB: I’m just more encouraged to keep raising money for research and raising awareness and I think that’s just growing stronger inside me. My goal has always been to find a cure, but i’m even more empowered for the kids and families going through this.
KB: When Megan was first diagnosed she was 13 years old; a very shy 8th grader and now [over the last 4 years] she’s grown into a powerful, aggressive advocate. She’s talked to the National Institute of Health, Representative David Welter and our other local legislators and Congressman Adam Kinzinger and she’s not backing down. She’s speaking her mind and is determined. I have watched her grow into a powerful advocate and I am beyond proud of her and her accomplishments.
Q: What is it like when you meet other children and families going through the same thing as you?
MB: It’s like you’ve known them forever because they know exactly what you’re going through. We always have an immediate connection and they are always inspiring. I do it for them.
Q: What should we watch out for in this next year?
MB: I would say for next year... be prepared for a change. It may not necessarily be a cure, but we may get more than 4% of funding, or maybe discover a new drug. I also think we will have even more kids advocating. I can’t say any of these things will happen for sure, but there is just something inside me that has a good feeling.
KB: I have seen Megan move from focusing on herself to really focusing on others. You have people like Megan and other families who are essentially raising money to save themselves and their families. That’s why more than 4% is so important to us. Our most precious resource—our kids— like Megan, are raising money for themselves and that is what Megan wants to change; its a driving factor.
“Overall, I love the collection, it really speaks to what we’re going for and the change we are trying to make.” -MB 🎗