Texas Children’s Cancer Center hosted several virtual activities throughout the month of September to honor our courageous patients and their families, and to thank our dedicated staff for all they do. While COVID-19 changed this year’s Going Gold celebrations, many came together in a virtual and socially distant way to shine the light on pediatric cancer for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers Dr. Susan Blaney said she is grateful for those who participated in our virtual events to help raise awareness for such an important cause. Although 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. “Each day in our Cancer Center, our devoted team of physicians, nurses, researchers, and many others, are focused on translating the discoveries from our laboratories into novel therapies to improve the cure rate and outcomes for childhood cancer. ”
Here are some highlights from this year’s Going Gold celebrations at Texas Children’s.
Let There Be GOLD Carnival
On September 8, The Faris Foundation hosted a socially distant Let There Be GOLD Carnival for patients and their families on our inpatient Cancer Center unit. The floor was adorned in gold ribbons, stars, beads and other festive decorations, and there were numerous activities for children including arts and crafts, games and gold slime making.
Patients and their families also received a special visit from Elsa, our therapy dog, who dressed up for the occasion wearing a Going Gold T-Shirt to celebrate September Childhood Cancer Awareness.
Texas Children’s Cancer Center was inspired to “Go Gold” six years ago by a young patient, Faris D. Virani, who was perplexed about why he didn’t see as much gold in September compared to other colors he saw during different disease awareness months. Motivated by Faris’ concern, each year the Cancer Center has increased their level of “gold-ness,” and this year was no different.
Faris’ mother and founder of The Faris Foundation, Dr. Asha Virani, joined with Texas Children’s Cancer Center staff for the Let There Be GOLD Carnival. Virani said she knows her son, who lost his battle with Ewing sarcoma, is smiling because of all of the gold that was shown around Texas Children’s in September.
“September Childhood Cancer Awareness month is a golden opportunity to spread awareness and love,” said Virani. “Over the years, Texas Children’s has been a leader in making this cause so visible.”
Pajama Day “Go Gold” Celebration
Also this month, patients, families and staff at Texas Children’s Cancer Center had their very own Pajama Day to help raise awareness of childhood cancer. Wearing their pajamas, they stood in solidarity to honor the courageous journeys of our patients and families who have been touched by pediatric cancer.
This year’s Pajama Day was part of #AmazonGoesGold campaign to raise awareness of childhood cancer. Children are fighting cancer while in their pajamas, so the team decided to have a pajama party to celebrate our patients and their journey.
The Pajama Day started with children decorating sleeping masks, pillowcases and their own robes. All three Cancer Center inpatient units had their own concession stand where the patients came and filled their snack box and chose a movie of their choice. Some patients were very interested in scary movies while others wanted something different – there was something for each of our patients. Each child took their snack box and watched a movie with their family in their room.
In conjunction with the #AmazonGoesGold campaign, Amazon donated a gift of $500,000 to Texas Children’s Cancer Center as part of their Go Gold initiative to help advance pediatric cancer research.
Video messages from our Cancer Center staff and patients
To celebrate our patients and their families, our Cancer Center team gathered virtually to share inspiring video messages throughout the month of September. And, several of our fellow patients shared their own messages of hope and encouragement for other children and families impacted by childhood cancer.
One of our patients had this to say to those facing cancer: “September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. My encouraging words to you are stay strong, always be positive, and you can beat cancer.”