Most people are familiar with pink ribbons, which symbolize support for breast cancer awareness. But you may not know what gold ribbons represent. Gold ribbons represent childhood cancer awareness, and September is childhood cancer awareness month.
As a healthcare traveler, even if you have not cared for children with cancer, the disease may have touched your life. Unfortunately, it touches the lives of thousands of children and their families every year. Cancer is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and 14, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Children are affected by the same types of cancer, which also affect adults, such as leukemia, brain tumors, and lymphoma. There are also some types of cancer, such as neuroblastoma, which only affect children. But the effect of childhood cancer goes way beyond the child who is diagnosed. Parents, siblings, and friends are also affected by childhood cancer.
How You Can Help
During national childhood cancer month and all year long, there are many ways you can create awareness and help the cause.
One of the simplest ways you can support the cause is to wear a gold ribbon. You can also display the image of a ribbon on your social media profiles, like Facebook and Twitter. The gold ribbon symbol is used similarly to the pink ribbon to symbolize breast cancer. It creates conversation and awareness about childhood cancer, which is often the first step in finding a cure.
Donating to organizations that help children and their families affected by childhood cancer or organizations that do research is another way you can help. There are organizations all over the country that assist children with cancer. In addition to your local children’s hospital, consider some of the nonprofit agencies below:
Ronald McDonald House: The Ronald McDonald House is a national organization that provides temporary housing to out of town children and their families while they are receiving cancer treatment.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: This organization was started by a young cancer patient and has evolved into a national organization. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer holds fundraising events all over the United States to raise money for cancer research.
St. Jude Children’s Hospital: Children and their families come from all over the world to receive cancer treatment at this facility. A family is never turned away because they cannot pay. Donations help cover costs, as well as fund childhood cancer research.
American Childhood Cancer Organization: This organization was started by parents whose children were diagnosed with cancer. It has grown to over 40 local affiliates throughout the United States. The organization provides advocacy and support to children and their families affected by childhood cancer.
All of the above organizations utilize volunteers. In addition, opportunities are available all over the country for people who are interested in helping. Consider calling your local children’s hospital or volunteer center. Volunteers are often needed to work in child life departments in children’s cancer centers, assist with fundraising events, and collect toys and gifts to be distributed to children.