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It's Always Time to Be Aware of Childhood Cancer

By Kayla Giacin
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Now that we're a full week into October, it is time to reflect on September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We asked our CBTF families to #GoGold (the color of childhood cancer awareness), by submitting pictures of what childhood cancer and brain tumors mean to them, as well as presented facts about the devestating disease.

While I would like to call our campaign successful – what constitutes as successful when it comes to brain tumors and cancer?

Only 4% of government funding for cancer research goes to pediatric funding. One of the ways to change this is by spreading awareness and to take steps that will create changes in the U.S. government when it comes to funding.

How close are we to this becoming a reality? Well, in July 2015, the STAR Act was enacted. The goal of this bill is to “…maximize discovery, and accelerate development and availability, of promising childhood cancer treatments, and for other purposes.” (www.govtrack.us). 

Led by The Alliance for Childhood Cancer and the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer, and in conjunction with many other participating organizations, CBTF strove to make this bill as visible and possible through the #StepUp Campaign. Organizations tweeted, shared, and otherwise spread this hashtag all over social media, along with other important childhood cancer statistics and the reasons why funding is so critical.

The Alliance for Childhood Cancer, which includes Marianne Bergman, a mother of a survivor who actively advocates for childhood brain tumors on CBTF’s behalf, held a Congressional Luncheon on September 18th which thanked and supported all of the members of Congress who support the STAR Act, as well as educated them on issues that are important to our community. Artwork from childhood cancer patients and survivors decorated Capitol Hill.

These are just some examples of steps taken during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month that can create a big change.

So, to answer the previous questions of whether or not this campaign successful, I would have to say yes. 

Through many organizations working together for a common cause, others in the community are hearing about the importance of going gold, and Congress is beginning to listen to what we as advocates have to say.

September is over, but childhood cancer awareness should not, nor should it ever be.   You can help keep the momentum going by writing to Congress about the importance of the STAR Act. You can download a template of a sample letter by clicking here.

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