HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Winston-Salem, Greensboro and the State of North Carolina are helping FOX8’s Chad Tucker recognize the toll that childhood cancer takes on a family.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and to recognize the month, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper met with the Tucker family Friday. Earlier this month, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines presented proclamations to the Tucker family and the foundation Roe Roe’s Heroes.
Winston-Salem also lit up the Twin Arches over U.S. 52 and Research Parkway from Sept. 1 to 9.
Greensboro is lighting up the parking decks from Sept. 1 through 15.
And the North Carolina Governor’s Office has agreed to light up the capitol Sept. 1 through 9.
Childhood cancer has had a direct impact on the Tucker family ever since Pearl Monroe Tucker, affectionately nicknamed Roe Roe, was first diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when she was 3 years old. Earlier this year, Roe Roe, now 6 years old, finally had her chance to “ring the bell” at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, a celebration marking the last of her chemotherapy treatments.
“From the beginning, I never doubted that she would be OK,” Chad said. “The moment after they told us that she had cancer, I just had this peace about it. She was going to be just fine.”
After a 848-day battle with leukemia, Roe Roe is in remission.
It’s the family’s love and dedication for Roe Roe and other children facing the same battle that inspired the Tucker family into advocacy — and 2022 is no different.
The Tuckers successfully petitioned local cities and skyscrapers to light up in yellow gold for the month of September. Yellow gold is the color of childhood cancer because children are more precious than gold.
What is the impact of childhood cancer?
Each day, 47 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, which means more than 17,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed each year. Globally, about 400,000 new cases of cancer affect children under the age of 20 each year, and that number is most likely underreported due to many cases that go undiagnosed.
In high-income countries, approximately 80% of children diagnosed with cancer will be cured. In some low and middle-income countries, only 20% of children will survive.
In the United States, 84% of children diagnosed with cancer are alive at least five years after diagnosis.
As of 2018, there are approximately 483,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S. This number is projected to grow to more than 500,000 in 2020.
Survival, however, does not mean they are cured or free from long-term side effects. Even those who are cured may suffer long-term side effects as a result of the cancer treatments they received. Children who were treated for cancer are twice as likely to suffer chronic health conditions later in life versus children without a history of cancer.
Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease among children, though research is consistently underfunded. Only 4% of the billions of dollars the government spends annually on cancer research is directed toward treating childhood cancer, according to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. As a result, only three cancer medications have been specifically developed for children in the last 20 years.
The lack of funding is why many organizations and children’s hospitals work to raise research dollars each year.
How can I help?
If you would like to help, below is a list of research organizations and local non-profits that directly benefit local children and help their families.
Ronald McDonald House Winston-Salem
Ryan’s Cases For Smiles – Winston-Salem Chapter
Some of the top-rated Childhood Cancer Research Foundations, according to Charity Navigator:
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
National Pediatric Cancer Foundation
Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research