When my daughter Annie envisioned the idea for Gold In September, she saw a world that turned pink in October and stopped shaving in November in the spirit of raising awareness. She had a vision that one day, the same would be true with the color gold for kids. It was a simple goal: awareness.
As we settle into Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2019, I am overwhelmed by how much has changed since that first year of G9 spreading GOLDEN awareness in 2014. Today, when I open social media, my feed is flooded with organizations, sport teams, foundations, businesses, and individuals all shining a GOLDEN ray of hope for kids fighting cancer. I am humbled that so many have heard the call to raise awareness. Why? Because children deserve hope. Children deserve a bright future.
This has been the mission of G9 from the very beginning – to grow GOLDEN awareness and shine a light on the problem, the solution, and the role we all must play. Big or small, everyone plays an important role and can feel part of the growing momentum leading us to the greatest return on investment . . . life. People are listening and jumping on the golden bandwagon; for their efforts I am so very grateful. And please know, there is room on this bandwagon for everyone because this is not a competition, this is a collaboration of the truest, most altruistic form.
Our work is far from over and we must take the next step together. Incidence of invasive pediatric cancers has grown nearly 30 percent; only four drugs have been FDA approved specifically for pediatric cancers; and every two minutes a child is diagnosed. Sense the theme? Here’s some additional perspective: the chances of winning the Powerball lottery: 1 in 292 Million; the chances of a child being diagnosed with cancer: 1 in 285.
I share these statistics as a rallying cry. In this month of September, when we see the color gold splashed across our social feeds and grace the news headlines, it is easy to keep Childhood Cancer Awareness at the forefront of our thoughts. But the sad fact is that children are diagnosed with cancer EVERY DAY in EVERY month of the year. Imagine what could happen if kids were viewed as our lottery, their lives the jackpot, and we all put just an extra $1 or $5 towards childhood cancer with a stop at the gas station or grocery store.
Right now, only 4 percent of government funding is designated for pediatric cancer research. Four percent to find cures for over 16 different types of childhood cancer and over 100 subtypes. This is not acceptable. The only way cures can be developed is to properly fund the research needed to bring them from the bench to the bedside through public and private partnerships, corporate and non-profit alignment, and an overarching brand awareness. Brand you say? Yes, brand.
We are loyal to our favorite brands, especially those that represent social good and conscious consumerism. And we are loyal to our children. There is no better representation of social good than in the eyes and hearts of children, so we must brand a cause we can all support so every child, everywhere has hope for survival. By elevating the awareness of childhood cancer, by creating opportunities for collaboration and cooperation, by aligning our golden giving power, by working together with the guiding light of gold, we can create the greatest of brands: hope.
The only way to move from just being aware of the issue to play a role, large or small, is by taking action. Awareness without action does not help children battling cancer survive and thrive. It is up to us. All of us. As a friend and advocate in this battle once said, “Once you are aware, you are obliged to do something.”
I am so very thankful for the GOLD that has seemingly infiltrated every corner of my world this month. This is an excellent start and a step towards moving awareness to action to cures. A step towards a future where every child, everywhere survives. How will you take action this month? More importantly, how will you look for ways to take action in every month for all the causes that deserve more than a week, a month, a color, a campaign, and a giving day. This is the time for a modern gold rush, a gold rush that brings all of our time, optimism, and treasures together into one big pot of GOLD from which everyone sees and feels the riches of awareness.
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