It shouldn’t be this hard

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Imagine what a beautiful sight the Empire State Building would be if it was lit with gold next month for Childhood Cancer Awareness. The above isn’t an actual picture, but a graphic that someone was kind enough to let me use (Thanks, Daniel Villarreal!) for this blog post.

We in the childhood cancer social media community have been asking for years for the Empire State Building to swap out their generic white light bulbs for gold to help spread awareness. They have refused us every single time, even when we go through “proper channels.”  So this week, we took to posting on the official Empire State Building Facebook page posting our stories, pictures, and begging them to change their minds. We just want awareness. 

Posts began disappearing from the page. So we told people to leave one star reviews because we knew that they could not delete those. Then they began blocking us advocates/parents/survivors. This is a violation of our free speech as Americans. This is discrimination. This is like two year olds covering their eyes when being confronted with something they don’t want to see. You can read more about it in this blog post, written by my friend and fellow childhood cancer survivor (this is a link).

Whoever administrates that page truly has a heart of stone.  Who deletes a public post that includes a picture of a sick child?  They change the lights for breast cancer, Gay Pride, Canada Day, for when Germany won the World Cup, and for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – cartoon characters! – and the Chinese New Year! Why can’t they go gold for the little ones who are battling just to live?

The general theory is they refuse to light the Empire State Building gold  because we are asking them to do it for free, out of the goodness of their hearts.  They want donations. Sorry, dude, but our monetary donations are currently being tied up in research because the federal budget for childhood cancer is only 4%. This means adults get 96% of all research money.  There are way more than 4 different types of childhood cancer. The babies of today symbolize hope for the future. Most survivors of childhood cancer have to deal with long term side effects of outdated (by 40 or so years) drugs and treatment protocols. Parents have to scramble to find ways to support their family while at the same time fighting for one of their children’s lives AND advocating for childhood cancer too?  It is too much.

In a perfect world, this would not be. There would be more yeses instead of nos. But since we don’t live in a perfect world we will never ever give up fighting for action on the behalf of the children fighting, of the children who have passed away, and of the children who grew up different because cancer touched their lives.

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