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Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Moving Awareness to Action

Since it is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, September is a crazy, busy, wonderful month for CURE Childhood Cancer. As we turn the calendar page, we can look back on all of the positive and meaningful things that came out of the month.

Awareness is defined as knowledge or perception of a situation or fact. Of course, the disparity of funding between cancers that affect children and those that affect adults is something that everyone should be aware of. We try to make people aware every day of the year. But if awareness doesn’t lead to action, what is its worth?

Fortunately, when we evaluate September, we see a great deal of tangible evidence that the awareness we created has resonated within our community and moved people to act on behalf of children.

Throughout the state, schools took the initiative to tell children of all ages about cancer facts as they held “Go Gold” days and “Gold Out” games.

 

Not only that, many schools participated in Coins4CURE to teach the children how they can make a difference by putting their coins to work for our cause.

 

One survivor in Statesboro was frustrated because she couldn’t get her school to go gold. Their colors are green and gold, so on their Spirit Day, Anna Hayes declared, “As for me and my house, we will go gold!”

 

Thousands of mailboxes were adorned with gold bows for the entire month. More than a decoration, the gold bows are a declaration of support as neighborhoods came together for children in their community. Several of our gold bows even stood the test of Hurricane Irma!

 

From cupcakes to hardware, jewelry to dining, dozens of businesses joined us in September by using their own messaging and products to reach their customers with our mission. Generous partners such as Muse Salon donated their services to benefit CURE. We are grateful for the support of each and every partner.

 

We told their stories. 112 families entrusted us with their children’s stories and we shared them during our CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time. These stories are real pictures into the reality of a child forced to fight a cancer diagnosis. Some were heartbreaking and others uplifting, but the common thread was a need for action. People’s hearts were moved by reading these stories and they donated in the hopes of changing the story for children yet to be diagnosed.

 

A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes brought together over 500 attendees – including 250 mothers who have steered their family through the distress of a cancer diagnosis. Three speakers well-acquainted with childhood cancer gave unique perspectives to the theme of Hope Endures and offered hope to all those listening – wherever they might be in their journey. This beautiful event not only encouraged the quiet heroes in attendance, it raised $400,000 to further our mission.

The day’s event is not measured in amounts, however. Our goal is to honor mothers and we knew it was a success when we got this email from a new Quiet Hero.

“Words cannot express the wide range of emotions that took over my mind and thoughts during the Quiet Heroes event today. My 14 year-old athletic son was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma 2 months ago. Needless to say, I was very conflicted over whether to attend the event at all. Attending the event meant I would actually have to admit that I am part of a club that I never asked and never wanted to be a part of; the mother of a child with cancer.” 

 

Yes, September was busy. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Awareness Rocks

When Andy Boone had find an organization to support to complete the requirements for his citizenship in the community merit badge, the decision wasn’t difficult. After watching his older sister, Abby, fight leukemia, he knew that CURE Childhood Cancer was the choice.

Although he was only six years-old when she was diagnosed, Andy remembers some specific things from her time in treatment. He vividly recalls rushing to get food with his father so that she would have it when her sedation was finished. He also remembers spending the night in the hospital with her and the coconut water she needed for recovery. And he is very glad to report that she is doing well now.

But Andy and his family didn’t leave cancer in the rearview mirror. They actively work with CURE to raise money for research and support other families who are going through treatment. This work has given Andy a keen awareness of the issues related to childhood cancer and its lack of funding.

With those issues in mind, Andy set out to accomplish the tasks necessary to get his badge. This involved eight hours of volunteer work. He has volunteered at the CURE Holiday Party and plans to do so again, but that only fulfilled half of the requirement. So he began to brainstorm about how he could do something to create awareness for childhood cancer. That’s when he landed on awareness rocks.

Since gold is the chosen color of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, he gathered rocks and painted them bright gold. Then he spent an hour researching facts related to childhood cancer so that he could paint those facts on the rocks with the intention of placing them in obvious places where they could be seen by others. His hope was that those people who saw the rocks would take the time to read them and learn the things his family discovered during Abby’s treatment.

Many things he found surprised him. But the fact that stood out the most to Andy was, “Every day 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer.”

When the paint dried, he took all of the rocks and put them near the boat launch at Lake Hartwell because it is such a well-travelled area during the summer. He and his friend hung around the area and just happened to hear some people talking about the rocks and what was written on them. Obviously, his plan to share the facts worked!

Andy wrote up details about his project and submitted it to his troop last Saturday. After he completes his service he will be able to claim his merit badge. Most importantly, with every rock that is read, his project is creating awareness for children fighting cancer.

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