Light the night.
Local politicians, activists and families touched by pediatric cancer kicked off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on Tuesday, September 2 by lighting Times Square gold as part of New Hampshire native Tony Stoddard’s Gold World Project – a worldwide initiative Bay Ridge, Brooklyn has squared in on.
“For the seven kids that die every day from both childhood cancer and the outdated treatments used to treat it, I want to thank Times Square for standing with parents like us who are fighting for better treatments for all the children out there battling this terrible disease,” said Bay Ridge resident Matthew Kabel, whose 21-month-old daughter Sally is currently fighting a rare form of Infant Leukemia.
“When the Empire State Building said no to kids like our daughter Sally, Times Square said yes, and showed that the Crossroads of the World has the backs of all kids like her battling for their lives against cancer,” Kabel added.
The Big Apple lighting rides on the heels of the Empire State Building’s recent refusal to light the 103-story skyscraper gold for kids with cancer, a decision that has since sparked controversy and led local pols to get landmarks – like Times Square – to light themselves.
For the occasion, Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Alec Brook-Krasny, Councilmember Vincent Gentile, Congressmember Michael Grimm and State Senator Marty Golden joined the Kabel family as well as Camille Orrichio Loccisano, founder of the Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation – or Frankie’s Mission – and mother of Frankie Loccisano, who succumbed to childhood cancer just after his 17th birthday, to illuminate Times Square.
Also on hand were Stoddard, who lost his five-year-old son Cole to Neuroblastoma, and Ashley Burnette, pediatric cancer survivor and Hyundai Hope on Wheels National Youth Ambassador.
“Fighting cancer was one of the hardest things I have ever done,” said Burnette, today cancer-free. “However, I always think about all the other kids who are still fighting cancer every day.”
“On behalf of the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC), I am delighted our organization has donated time on our vibrant, digital signs to support pediatric cancer awareness,” said Fred Rosenberg, president of the TSAC. “The signs in Times Square are the most attractive advertising space in the world. There is no better place to announce Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.”
Bay Ridge will continue to “Go Gold” throughout the month of September with ribbons and lights in storefronts, home windows and street corners while other New York City landmarks like the Freedom Tower and Brooklyn’s own Coney Island Parachute Jump will also “Go Gold.”