Last year community members, local leaders, and families across Brooklyn banded together to ensure that all over the borough, people (and Parachute Jumps) were “going gold” in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
This year, the community force is even stronger.
“By now I think everyone knows that Bay Ridge comes together like nobody’s business,” said Justin Brannan, vice president and co-founder of Bay Ridge Cares—a non-profit organization focused on bettering Bay Ridge. “Last year, people painted the town gold from the cobblestones of Shore Road to the steps of Borough Hall and everywhere in between – all to recognize the tremendous courage of kids with cancer and to shine a light on the need for more funding for childhood cancer research.
“Some of our neighbors have been touched directly by pediatric cancer while others know someone who has;” he continued. “Go Gold means we’re all here to support each other because that’s just how it’s done; that’s the Brooklyn way.”
The concept, dreamt up by Bay Ridge Cares board member Teri Brennan after New Hampshire resident Tony Stoddard founded the Gold World Project, is a way for community members to raise awareness about childhood cancer by hanging ribbons, lighting homes and storefronts, or simply just wearing gold.
“These children and families who are staring down the unknown and battling the unimaginable, every Go Gold sign they see, every gold bow around a tree, every gold light in a store window will send a little message that they are not alone,” said Brannan. “That’s what this is all about; showing these families that we’re all in this together.”
Last year, after the Empire State Building refused to light up in gold in honor of the awareness initiative, community members and local pols banded together to ensure something noteworthy would be done, and it was. Councilmember Mark Treyger teamed up with Coney Island’s Parachute Jump owner Zamperla Group to make sure the structure was lighted gold.
“When our daughter Sally was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Infant Leukemia in 2013, Bay Ridge rallied around our family and offered much needed support,” said local resident and Go Gold activist Matthew Kabel. “Last year, our neighborhood rallied around all kids with cancer and turned Bay Ridge gold when the Empire State Building refused to. This year, we are fortunate to have Sally past treatment, but are determined to turn our city gold once again.”
Other notable landmarks that have joined the “go gold” movement are The Prudential Center, The Peace Bridge and Niagara Falls.
“Every day seven kids die of cancer, and most who survive treatment do so with long term effects,” added Kabel. “Sally is still primarily fed through a feeding tube and receives numerous medications daily to counteract the effects of treatment. Improved and less toxic treatments are badly needed, the only way to achieve those is with increased public awareness and funding for research, which going gold provides. We invite south Brooklyn to join us in going gold and helping save lives like Sally’s.”
“We’re really proud of Bay Ridge,” added Camille Locisano, founder of Frankie’s Mission—a non-profit organization started in memory of her son Frankie, who passed away after a three year battle with cancer. “They are leading the way and our community has done an outstanding job. To recognize that there are children who are suffering like this,[who] go through a tremendous amount of pain and suffering, when this happens to a family, they need their community around them.”
Free Go Gold window signs are now available at State Senator Marty Golden’s office and Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s office. For more information, visit gogold.org.