September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and is symbolized by a gold ribbon, either worn or displayed, to bring attention to childhood cancer research.
Each September advocacy organizations, healthcare institutions, patients and families raise awareness for childhood cancer and push for continued efforts to find new treatments.
The idea of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month was first introduced in 1990 in a presidential proclamation by then-President George H.W. Bush. Sept. 26, 2019, September was officially recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Each year, an estimated 400,000 children and adolescents of 0-19 years old develop cancer. The most common types of childhood cancers include leukemia, brain cancers, lymphomas and tumors.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children.
St. Jude was founded by comedian and entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962. The hospital was founded on the premise that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” The mission of the hospital is to focus on defeating childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and to “advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.”
As a non-profit medical corporation, it costs about $2.8 million a day to run, but patients are not charged for their care. The hospital’s leukemia studies have pioneered the way the world treats childhood leukemia with a 94 percent survival rate.
Back in the ’60s I can remember watching the Labor Day St. Jude Telethon Fundraiser hosted by Danny Thomas. The benefit show brought major entertainment stars, such as Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and more, to Memphis, Tenn. – home of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – and millions of dollars were raised by businesses, industries, schools, colleges, organizations, ordinary individuals and more.
Today a variety of advocacy organizations host fundraising events. People are brought together to share stories and honor children with cancer and childhood cancer survivors, plus the clinicians, healthcare providers, researchers and caregivers who are dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with cancer.
Danny Thomas’s daughter, Marlo Thomas, is the national outreach director of the hospital.
The GFWC Book Lovers Study Club holds a silent auction to raise funds for St. Jude. For years the General Federation International Women’s Club has supported the hospital and works with them as one of our major affiliates. Clubs share information and register for St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. Some Alabama clubs have taken their members to tour the St. Jude facilities.
Cancer is cruel and spares no age. During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we honor the young lives taken too soon as well as the growing number of young cancer survivors, some of whom may face serious health challenges throughout their lifetimes.
This year we invite our community to show their commitment to this cause by inspiring and strengthening hope among our children.