September 1st marks the kick off of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This blog post is intended to educate readers on what this month represents and ways we can all participate to make a difference! Organizations around the world target September as a time to increase pediatric cancer awareness and funding for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure.
Every year, thousands of children across America are diagnosed with cancer, an often life threatening illness that remains the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15. For the ninth consecutive year, it’s time to shine a national light on the realities of pediatric cancer, raise awareness and funds, support families who have lost their child, and advocate for kids still fighting this disease.
Lobbying for a National Impact
Since the start of the Sadie Keller Foundation, Sadie has been eager to use her voice to fight for cancer kids and survivors. Sadie has worked closely with her friend and mentor Congressman Michael McCaul to lobby for three major childhood cancer acts. Congressman McCaul is the co-chair of the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus, which he founded in 2009 to better direct congressional resources and efforts to the cause of preventing pediatric cancer.
With Sadie’s advocacy, Congressman McCaul passed The RACE (Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity) for Children Act that requires companies developing targeted cancer drugs for adults to develop those drugs for children with cancer as well. Next, they successfully passed the STAR (Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research) Act– the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever passed by Congress. Its purpose is to expand opportunities for research, improve efforts to identify and track cases, and enhance the quality of life for survivors. Lastly, Sadie successfully lobbied for the Creating Hope Act, which provides market incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for children with pediatric diseases like childhood cancers and sickle cell.
Increased awareness is one of the Sadie Keller Foundation’s primary missions, this month and year-round. These facts are still unknown to many:
- Childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease for children under 15 in the US.
- Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer in the US alone.
- 1 in 285 kids will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.
- 1 of 8 children battling cancer will not survive.
- Of the billions in government funding that goes to cancer research, only 4% goes to childhood cancers.
- In the last 20 years, only four new chemotherapy drugs have been developed and approved specifically for children.
- 60% of childhood cancer survivors will suffer devastating late effects from treatment such as: secondary cancers, heart complications, muscular difficulty, and infertility.
- More than 40,000 children undergo cancer treatment each year
The gold ribbon is the symbol for childhood cancer awareness and represents support and advocacy for fighters. But why gold? Gold is one of the most precious and valued metals. Because there is nothing more precious than our nation’s children, this color perfectly suited pediatric cancer awareness. Gold symbolizes how prized children are and the resiliency they exhibit as survivors. While other awareness ribbons symbolize one specific disease, the childhood cancer ribbon stands for dozens of diseases. So, join the thousands of people who will “go gold” this month. Wear yellow and gold apparel and ribbons to show support for survivors as well as those still fighting. Bonus points if you share your style on social media to raise awareness!
For the past three years, the Sadie Keller Foundation has been a proud sponsor of CureFest—an event that unites the childhood cancer community into one voice on the National Mall in Washington DC each September. This event connects fighters and survivors from across the country to share their stories and rally to make funding for childhood cancer a national priority. This has been one of our favorite ways to team with other organizations and make an impact.
Childhood cancer doesn’t stop because of a pandemic, and neither will CureFest! This year, the event will be digital allowing more people than ever before to get involved. Click here to learn more about CureFest and register to participate virtually.
Sadie describes her first experience at CureFest:
“The organizers had set up tables with poster boards and markers. Everybody was making signs for the rally. I made one with a gold ribbon for childhood cancer and the words, ‘I’M WORTH MORE THAN 4%.’ I wanted people to know about the four percent—the portion out of billions of dollars of cancer research that goes to childhood cancers. There are 12 types of cancer that kids can get, along with a hundred or so sub-types. Some of them have a survival rate of zero. That’s a death sentence. There isn’t enough money for scientists to make the best chemotherapy for all of them, drugs that would save kids’ lives. . . As we marched, we looked behind us. I saw hundreds of people walking and in wheelchairs: parents who has lost their child, advocates for childhood cancer, all kinds of organizations, siblings of kids with cancer. And kids like me with cancer. A lot of kids had no hair. Like me. It felt so good to see them. I felt like all of us belonged together.”-Quoted from Better Angels, by Sadie Keller
Ways to help
There are so many ways you can show support for young cancer fighters and survivors this September. Here are a few:
- Share, like, and comment on childhood cancer social media posts to increase the reach of these messages and spread awareness. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see our sharable content and statistics. This is one of the most powerful ways to increase our impact!
- Donate to the Sadie Keller Foundation. Help our mission of making a difference in the lives of kids and families facing cancer.
- Shop on AmazonSmile. At no cost to you, Amazon donates a percentage of your checkout price to us.
- Start a Facebook Fundraiser. Motivate your friends and family on Facebook to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer during the month of September.
- Donate to other organizations working to end childhood cancer. Here are some great ones: Kids v Cancer, American Childhood Cancer Organization, Sky High for Kids.
- Wear yellow and gold to show your support!
- Take part in the Sadie Keller Foundation’s Color for Childhood Cancer Awareness Campaign! (See below.)
Color for Childhood Cancer Awareness Campaign
In honor of this month, we are launching a fun and interactive way for everyone to help this cause. We’ve created a childhood cancer awareness coloring sheet for members of our community to personalize and show their support! Participate in our campaign and tag us to be entered to win a copy of Better Angels.
Here’s how it works:
Download the “More Than 4%” Coloring Sheet attachment at the bottom of this page, print, and color it in. Get creative and remember to use lots of yellow and gold! Then, upload a photo of you or your family with your awesome artwork to Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to include the following in your caption: “Did you know?… Out of the billions of dollars the government spends on cancer research, only 4% goes to childhood cancers. #Togetherwecanmakeadifference ” And remember to tag the Sadie Keller Foundation! This will ensure that you’re entered to win a Better Angels Book Bundle, which includes a signed copy of Sadie’s book, a bookmark designed by Sadie, and themed stickers.
We’re so excited to announce this campaign! Our coloring sheet is designed to be fun for all ages. We can’t wait to see all the finished artwork and participation. And we’re looking forward to sharing your social posts on the Sadie Keller Foundation social media pages. So, get out your markers and colored pencils, and help us fight for “more than 4%” for childhood cancer research.
Donate to the Sadie Keller Foundation.