Gold ribbons will be hung around West Michigan for ‘BE BOLD.GO GOLD’

(Video created by Rhino Media).

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)-September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer Families United is dedicated to raising critical awareness of childhood cancer as well as providing support to local families affected by the disease.

>>>>Learn how Cancer Families United got started by viewing the video above.

During the month of September, a gold tree will sit outside of Old Burdick’s restaurant in Kalamazoo, decorated with gold ribbons and cancer facts. Each ribbon represents 100 children diagnosed. Kalamazoo mall will feature stories of local children battling, or who have lost their battle, with cancer. Local businesses will also be participating with fundraising efforts.

During the month of September, Cancer Families United is challenging the local community to support Childhood Cancer awareness and funding with their Be Bold. Go Gold. campaign. Hang gold ribbons, light up your businesses/homes with gold or yellow lights, wear gold and donate to help support local families affected by the disease and support much-needed research. More information about the Be Bold. Go Gold. campaign and Cancer Families United may be found at http://www.cancerfamiliesunited.org.

Cancer Families United is currently seeking local business support for the campaign. Businesses that are interested in hanging a Childhood Cancer Awareness poster in their business and participating in fundraising opportunities should contact Farrell Howe at farrell.howe@gmail.com.

Childhood Cancer Facts

· Every day, 42 children are diagnosed with cancer and 8 will lose their battle. The average age of diagnosis is 6. Cancer is the #1 disease related death of children. In 2014, it is estimated that 15,780 U.S. children and adolescents will be diagnosed with cancer. 1,960 will die of the disease.
· 95% of children treated for childhood cancer will suffer long-term effects from treatment including loss of hearing and sight, heart disease, secondary cancers, learning disabilities, infertility and more. Relapse of the original cancer is a lifetime concern.

· The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has a budget of $30 billion – NCI (National Cancer Institute) gets $4.9 billion of that – childhood cancer only gets $200 million (4%). Someone makes the decision to spend less money saving children with cancer. Less money spent on research, means less cures.
· In the last 20 years, only two new drugs have been specifically developed to treat children with cancer. Most of the cancer drugs used to treat childhood cancer are made for adults, and are more than 40 years old. Many of these drugs cause permanent damage to their developing bodies. Drug companies don’t view childhood cancer drugs as profitable. So they don’t invest money, research or time creating drugs that may save young lives.
About Cancer Families United
Cancer Families United was born from the feeling that no family should fight cancer alone. When families are thrust into the rigors of cancer treatment and the new life of hospital stays, clinic visits, chemotherapy schedules and medicinal side effects, no one knows better what they are experiencing, than a family who has already lived it. The co-founders, Mary Kay Pederson and Steve Bennecke and their family have experienced childhood cancer first hand. When their child’s treatment journey began, they both knew that they wanted to make it better for the next family. When each of their daughters was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Emma Pederson in 2010 and Josie Bennecke in 2012, they needed a way to connect with other families facing the same struggles. Spending long hours in the clinic for treatment felt lonely and isolating, and extended overnight stays in the Children’s Hospital proved to have yet another set of unpleasant and challenging circumstances. Although each family was showered with compassion and thoughtful gestures of care, both felt compelled to create a way for families to connect and share their journey.

Cancer Families United

Cancer Families United began as a social networking private support group to connect families. Once these families began talking and sharing their stories, they began the process of getting to know each other; and when they had their scheduled visits to the clinic, the isolation began to fade. Support was ready and waiting whenever someone had a tear of joy, or a tear of sorrow. Finding inner strength when fighting a disease like cancer can be a struggle, but, finding strength from others who fight alongside you- is empowering. Families should never have to stand alone and fight cancer.

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