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68th Precinct goes gold

With a lavish gold ribbon on its front door, the 68thPrecinct in Bay Ridge joined a local movement that’s been spreading around the neighborhood like wildfire – going gold to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

As the monthly meeting of the precinct’s community council wound down, on Tuesday, September 16, cops and members of the council headed outdoors with local pediatric cancer advocates to post Go Gold Bay Ridge signs on the glass doors of the station house, at 333 65th Street.

The effort was started by Bay Ridge Cares in support of the Gold World Project, begun by New Hampshire dad Tony Stoddard, whose son Cole died at the age of five from Neuroblastoma.

The movement gained steam in the city and the borough after the Empire State Building rejected Stoddard’s request, echoed by other members of the pediatric cancer community, to go gold for a single night to bring awareness to the issues surrounding childhood cancer.

Noted Bay Ridge Cares member Teri Brennan, “[The organization] thought, this is a neighborhood that steps up. It probably would come together and go gold. So, we floated the idea and the response was instantaneous.”

Going gold is not just window-dressing, she emphasized. With one of five children diagnosed with cancer dying of the disease, while only three percent of federal cancer funding going to research pediatric cancer, “The only way to change the paradigm, shift the money, is to raise awareness,” Brennan contended. “We have to get the discussion going, and this neighborhood has been a phenomenal example of how to get the discussion going.”

But, Brennan also noted, Ridgeites have also put their money where their mouth is, with businesses dedicating part of their proceeds to charities associated with pediatric cancer, and schools such as P.S. 102 also getting involved in raising money for the cause.

The effort isn’t lost on those most closely affected by the disease. Matthew Kabel, whose two-year-old daughter Sally is fighting Leukemia, said that the neighborhood has been incredibly supportive of his family since its ordeal began, with the go gold movement just the latest example of that. “If you want to look to something positive,” he stressed, “look to this.”

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