Everybody recognizes and understand the familiar pink ribbons and Susan G. Komen's "For the Cure" tag line. It is a recognizable and worthy cause, and my heart goes out to the thousands of women and their families who battle breast cancer on a daily basis. But, since my main audience is largely made up of people who work with children on a daily basis, I'm wondering how many of you know what a gold ribbon means? How many of you know what September is?
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the gold ribbon symbolizes the thousands and thousands of children who are currently battling the disease and the after-effects of treatment that will be with them for the rest of their lives.
If you don't know much about childhood cancer, here are some basic facts for you:
- Every school day, 46 young people, or two classrooms of students, are diagnosed with cancer in this country. More than 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and over 40,000 children and adolescents are currently being treated for childhood cancers.
- Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in children. Cancer claims the lives of more children annually than any other disease: more than asthma, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis & AIDS combined.
- 3 out of 5 children suffer from long-term or late onset side effects.
- 1 out of every 5 children diagnosed with cancer dies.
- 2,300 children and teenagers will die each year from cancer.
- Common cancer symptoms in children are often suspected to be common illnesses and thus treated as such, causing cancer to be found at later stages. Attempts to detect childhood cancers at an earlier stage when the disease would react more favorably to treatment have largely failed.
- Approximately 20% of adults with cancer show evidence that their disease has spread, while almost 80% of children show that their cancer has spread to distant sites.
- Nationally, childhood cancer is 20 times more prevalent than pediatric AIDS yet pediatric AIDS receives four times the funding that childhood cancer receives.
I found these facts on a variety of different websites including:
Gold: The New Pink
There are many others. Do a search for childhood cancer, and not only will you find websites for organizations devoted to battling this awful disease, but you will also find the inspirational, honest, and heart-wrenching blogs of families who are battling one of the many types of childhood cancer.
As we all get back into the swing of things this school year, please remember that while it is a beautiful and important colors, there are many other colors besides pink. This month, and throughout the year, I choose gold to support the amazing kids who are battling cancer.