The last of this year’s Summer Strolls on Third took a more serious tone when several local and state leaders converged on 87th Street to speak against the Empire State Building’s refusal to light up gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
On August 15, State Senator Marty Golden, Assemblymembers Alec Brook-Krasny and Nicole Malliotakis, Congressmember Michael Grimm and Councilmember Vincent Gentile stood alongside Bay Ridge Cares in their effort to raise awareness for cancer.
“The Empire State Building may be tall, but on this issue they’re coming up short,” announced Gentile to scores of bystanders out on the town.
“It’s saddening to know they light up the Empire State Building for almost any occasion and now, when we’re talking about children with cancer, they have the audacity to say no to us,” said Malliotakis.
President of Bay Ridge Cares Karen Tadross organized the event and involved several families, including the Loccisano and Boccuzzi families who have both established foundations in memory of their children whom they have lost to cancer.
“Our message tonight is very simple,” said Tadross. “We would like Bay Ridge to join us in our effort to go gold for the entire month of September.”
“We in Brooklyn are standing tall and we’re standing gold,” said Gentile.
Bay Ridge Cares encourages Brooklynites to place yellow lights around their front doors and windows, to place gold bows around trees, and to wear gold ribbons on clothes and bags over the course of the month.
But the night wasn’t just about spreading the fact that nearly 15,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and 20 percent of those youth will succumb to the disease, said Golden.
It was about offering hope to families who have been torn apart by pediatric cancer.
“All they have is the support we give them,” said the senator. “The great city of New York will go gold for the month of September” and “someday, we will, in the future, have a cure.”
Along with the hope that was given to the community, alternatives were also put in place. Malliotakis requested “to have One World Trade Center be lit up in the Port Authority,” and Golden repeated last week’s announcement that the Parachute Jump in Coney Island would glow gold for five days in September.
However, going gold is more than just building awareness for a disease that receives less than four percent of the national funds allotted to cancer research.
“It’s about unifying everyone together in this community and across the entire country,” said Grimm.