Dancing for Gold

May 3, 2023

Dancing for Gold®

Over the last few years, mothers of children would always comment they wished someone would dance for only childhood cancer. After two years of praying about dancing for childhood cancer, God dropped the title in my heart, Dancing for Gold®.

The gold ribbon is the color for childhood cancer awareness. I know the pink ribbon because I am a breast cancer survivor. My breast cancer oncologist at Vanderbilt many years ago informed me that children do not get breast cancer, which is adult cancer.

Childhood cancer research only receives 4% of funding from the Federal Government, and adults receive 96% of funding for cancer research. Since 1980 there have only been six FDA-specifically approved treatments for childhood cancer. Children must take treatments developed for adults when they have childhood cancer. I would never have given my two-year-old child-adult Tylenol. Would you? Think about the damage children/adolescents are experiencing by taking adult, outdated treatments for cancer. Children deserve better treatments and more than 4% of funding for cancer research. There is a significant disparity between childhood cancer and adult cancer research funding.

There are no local Children’s Hospitals for a family with a child attacked by cancer in Western Kentucky or Southern Illinois. As a result, these families must travel out of town for cancer treatment for their seriously ill children. Not having a local facility for childhood cancer presents a real problem!

One of the parents, usually the mom, will lose their job after 12 weeks of FMLA is exhausted. I have seen many single moms struggle to make ends meet at home over the years. They have bills that continue to come in for house/rent payments, automobile payments, automobile insurance, automobile repairs, cell phone bills, utility bills, and so on.

Early on, I met a single mother with five children who lost her job because her 12 weeks of FMLA ran out. She had sold all her furniture, stove, and refrigerator. Her home was in foreclosure, which had nothing to do with medical bills for her child. The lack of a salary had everything to do with her not having money to pay her bills at home. All Children’s Hospitals nationwide will write pediatric cancer debt off after taking your Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid cards.

A light came on when I began to see the financial struggles families were going through because of their child having cancer. I knew Book for Hope would want to financially help families with a child fighting for their life with their bills. So, in January 2017, Book for Hope voted as a board to financially assist families monthly with bills (not medical). Book for Hope understands when families have a child on cancer treatment, they do not need money management classes; they need immediate help, not due to any fault of their own.

Childhood cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death in children of all diseases combined. Every day, 47 children in the USA receive a cancer diagnosis! That is double the size of a classroom. Last year, we had nearly 17,000 newly diagnosed childhood cancer cases in the USA, which is growing yearly. Unfortunately, 1 out of 8 children will not survive a cancer diagnosis. 1 out of 285 children will get cancer before their 20th birthday. 60% of children who survive cancer suffer long-term side effects.

Now you know why we are #DancingForGold. Just Imagine®  if your child had cancer. It can happen to anyone. Close your eyes and imagine this was your child. What would you want people to do? I have never heard a parent say they knew their child would be diagnosed with cancer. I have heard a parent say it felt like an atomic bomb had hit their child and them. So please support #DancingForGold® because kids matter. Will you join in the fight for our neighbor’s children diagnosed with cancer?

Gaylon Hayden, President
Book for Hope, Inc.