Have you ever wondered why the Childhood Cancer Awareness ribbon is gold? In 1997, a group of parents picked gold as the official color because it symbolizes how precious and resilient children are.
As we move into September, we prepare for change: changing from tank tops to sweaters, changing grades in school, and the upcoming change of seasons. For some parents, their life changes with the words, “Your child has cancer.”
Unfortunately, childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the US. In our own House, 14% of the families we serve are here based on a cancer diagnosis. To come together and acknowledge the thousands of families affected by a cancer diagnosis, September is designated as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
If the emotional toll and heartache on a parent aren’t enough during this time, the financial burden may come in second. At the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley, we are focused on the simple idea that nothing else should matter while a family is healing their child. These parents are changing and evolving their new “normal” and we are here to provide unwavering support.
With the help of our donors, we were able to provide the Stehley family a “home away from home.“ They stayed with us for 38 nights while their young son Mason received cancer treatments. The House was a much-needed getaway from the hospital, nurses, and machines. “It’s just nice that you can come here and not think about hospital and nurses and machines and you come here and they’re always positive. You go in and they’re always happy and talking to you. “
Childhood cancers often have treatment protocols that can take up to two years while they work towards remission. During this time, parents may have to be absent from work and travel long distances for health care. We hope they can find a new normal during these changing times.
If you are looking for a way to help change a family’s life, you are in luck. We have some great suggestions:
- Monetary donation – We ask that families pay $20 per night for their room, but no one is turned away for their inability to pay.
- Time donation – We have so many volunteer opportunities for everyone from baking to cleaning
- Pop tab donation – These small items make a huge impact when they are recycled
- Item donation – Our House is home to roughly 400 families a year which means we go through quite a bit of stuff. Items like laundry detergent, coffee, and toilet paper. We also have an arts & craft room as well as a playroom for families.
- Talk about childhood cancer – Advocate for those affected by cancer. Sometimes bringing light to a topic is the best way to help.
If you’re interested more in the Stehley family, click here.