GAY VOTERS AND #BlackLivesMatter TO OBAMA, But Kids With Cancer…Not So Much

There’s no need for Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett to make a statement about finding a cure for pediatric cancer, which receives 4 percent of The National Cancer Institute’s $4.6 billion budget. There’s no need because working together to help fund a cure for cancer doesn’t divide a nation, and we all know kids can’t vote…

kids with cancer sign

Picture is from Rockstar Ronan, a website dedicated to lighting the White House gold!

Quite some time ago, a petition was circulated to “Light the White House Gold.” The ask was simple: Come September 1, or the beginning of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, put some gold lightbulbs in the spotlights out front of the White House and tell the childhood cancer community and all the kids fighting and dying of cancer that they matter.

The president, through Paulette Aniskoff, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement, dropped the news that there would be no gold lights. There was a recycled proclamation, though, so maybe we should be happy for this small token. Of course, most of you will recall that last year on October 1, a giant pink ribbon and pink lightbulbs were festooned quickly on the White House. Should the White House go “pink” again in a month, it will be a significant slap in the face to the childhood cancer community. Yet another gesture of inequality for our kids.

pink white house

Cancer remains the number one disease killer of children. Cancer kills more kids in this country than AIDS, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined. So, when the long awaited response came from the president, you can understand why it was quite disappointing.

Cancer kills more than 2,500 children in our country every year. Over 13,500 kids will be diagnosed with cancer in the next 365 days. Though these numbers are significant, the potential market is too small to attract the attention of private industry. This makes the role of the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute (NCI) especially critical yet approximately 4% percent of its annual budget is dedicated to childhood cancer. The result is that children are dying every day waiting for promising new treatments that lack funding. This puts an extra burden on families with a child battling cancer.

Of course, lighting the White House gold would not cure any children or provide additional research funding. But that is not the point. I would gladly choose additional funding in the federal budget over a handful of gold lightbulbs. Again, that is not the point. Childhood cancer advocates fight so hard for every ounce of awareness in an effort to translate it into additional funding. What better symbol to raise the ultimate amount of awareness than the most powerful residence on the face of the earth? At the present time, a paltry 4 percent of the total National Cancer Institute Budget (NCI) is dedicated to all forms of childhood cancer. Thank you, Harold Varmus, M.D. That brings me back to the small little ask that apparently is only reserved for the ubiquitous pink ribbon.

What is the message here to the childhood cancer community? Kids with cancer do not matter as much as breast cancer? If kids with cancer do not merit more than 4 percent of the federal research budget, and childhood cancer is not important enough to garner the simple gesture of a handful of gold lightbulbs, then what is our position? I wish I had the answer to that question. I hope that it does not mean that children with cancer do not merit the same simple gestures and considerations as breast cancer. It certainly appears that way though.

According to the news of Take Part, White House led the celebration by lighting up rainbow-colored lights. President Obama cited a statement which was quoted by takepart.com. He said, “When all Americans are treated as equal, we were all more free, this ruling is a victory for America.” President Obama had long been supporting marriage equality since 2012.

Niagara Falls was one of the several US landmarks that lip up rainbow-colored lights for supporting same-sex marriage.niagra falls

Cinderella Castle in Disney World also took part of the celebration. According to Take Part, in Florida, same-sex marriage was illegal but on Friday, people and the Disney World partied as they have heard the decision, the Cinderella Castle became more enchanting with its rainbow-colored lights as they celebrated marriage equality.

Cinderellas Castle Disney Gay MarriageThe St. Louis Civil Courts Building also lit up with flying rainbow colors. Alderman Shane Cohn spent $15,000 in capital for the improvement funds of the rainbow lights in the Civil Courts Building in St. Louis. Several downtown buildings as well lit up rainbow-colored lights as a sign of support for the gay rights and St. Louis’ PrideFest. accrding to the report of stltoday.com, St. Louis recently was called the “gayest cities in America.”

Other famous landmarks which supported the same-sex marriage and brighten up with rainbow colors were Terminal Tower in Cleveland, The Empire State Building (In September 2014, the Empire State Building received national backlash for their decision not to go gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.)

empire state

Penn Station in New York City, The Seattle Great Wheel, The Alamo in San Antonio, in San Francisco, three of their monuments have participated, including: San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco International Airport and Grace Cathedral, the Playhouse Square in Cleveland, The Davis Building in Dallas, The U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego also participated in the celebration.

Ultimately, a handful of lightbulbs and a giant gold ribbon will not find better treatments or cures for the difficult cancers that kill so many children. It will not force Harold Varmus, M.D., to change his funding allocations. And, it may not cause more people to donate money toward childhood cancer research. All may be true. What that handful of lightbulbs and fabric may do is provide an additional measure of hope. And never should we forget that hope is a dangerous commodity, especially to a community that sometimes finds itself without any. Thanks for nothing, Mr. President.  Via: Huffington Post

A Day Of Yellow And Gold To Fight Childhood Cancer” Facebook page.


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