Cancer survivor Sophia Sereni took center stage last week at one of the three Going Gold celebrations held at Texas Children’s hospitals in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
Standing before a packed conference room in the Pavilion for Women, the curly-haired teen sang “Be Golden,” a gentle but strong song she wrote with Purple Songs Can Fly following treatment for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Click here to listen to the full song.
“This has been an amazing experience,” Sophia said. “I’m so glad I could be part of such an important cause.”
Following Sophia’s performance and dressed in bright gold shirts and other festive gear, fellow survivors, current patients, families, Texas Children’s Cancer Center employees and others marched for childhood cancer awareness, ending their short trek on The Auxiliary Bridge where they participated in a ribbon tying event and received information from various support organizations.
View photos from the events below.
Sponsored by The Faris Foundation, similar events and parades were held last week at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. A celebration will be held this week at Vannie Cook Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic in McAllen, Texas.
“Each year, the events get bigger and better,” said Asha Virani, founder of The Faris Foundation and the mother of Faris D. Virani, who lost his battle with Ewing sarcoma and inspired Texas Children’s to “Go Gold.” “It’s a golden opportunity to spread awareness and love. Texas Children’s has been a leader in making this cause so visible.”
Khole Henry, an 8-year-old cancer patient, said she attended the event last year and was so excited to hear that it was going to happen again this year.
“My favorite part is the snacks!” Khole beamed as she grabbed a couple of bite-sized bags of M&Ms for later. “I’m glad I got to come.”
Director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers Dr. Susan Blaney said she is glad so many people turned out to raise awareness for such an important cause and that even though great strides have been made in combatting childhood cancer, there is still work to be done.
“We need a cure for every child diagnosed with cancer,” Blaney said. “That’s why we have to keep doing laboratory and clinical research, keep developing novel treatment approaches and continue raising awareness about childhood cancer.”
Last year alone, almost 600 children were diagnosed with cancer at Texas Children’s. The disease remains the leading cause of non-accidental death in children. Help spread the word that pediatric cancer is a serious disease and that Texas Children’s Cancer Center is here to help. For more information about the Cancer Center, click here.
Click here to view a preview of the next installment of “This is Cancer: Reflections from our patients.” This installment focuses on Owen, who was barely 2 years old when doctors found a mass the size of a grapefruit surrounding his heart and cutting off his airway. Since then, his tiny body has been through a lot. But, as his mom Emily says, not even cancer can slow this energetic toddler down. The “This is Cancer” series documents the journeys of several families receiving care at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center. Their stories illustrate in intimate detail what they’re experiencing and how to better support them. Click here to learn more.