Every single day, 46 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer, and seven lose their lives to the disease. Cancer kills more children than all other diseases combined. Yet, only four percent of U.S. federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research, which is often far different than adult cancer.
One in five kids diagnosed with cancer will not live past the five-year mark, and many childhood cancers are 100 percent fatal upon diagnosis. Janet Pollok’s son, Luke, was one of these children.
Luke Pollok was diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of childhood cancer, DIPG (an inoperable brain tumor) in January 2009. On that day, his parents were told that there was no cure, and that Luke would have nine to 12 months to live. Tragically, Luke died almost exactly nine months later, on September 30, 2009.
Since that time, Janet has been a strong Childhood Cancer Advocate. First, she started Luke’s Wish Toy Drive only one month after he died, to collect toys to hand out to children spending Christmas in Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, and has done so every year since, just completing the sixth season. Janet also became very involved with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research grants for strictly childhood cancers. The biggest St. Baldrick fundraiser is a head-shaving event, where participants raise money for the fund by shaving their head bald. It is a tremendous way to honor those children who have lost their hair during their battle with cancer and felt “different.” Janet started a St. Baldrick’s team, Living for Luke, and shaved her head for the cause in March 2015, with a total of over $34,000 raised by several teams in honor of Luke.
Her most recent mission is to turn Texas Gold in September, which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Working as a volunteer parent advocate for the GO GOLD GLOBAL non-profit organization, Janet and her team are on a mission to light up skyscrapers, prominent landmarks, buildings and local businesses GOLD in the month of September. Many cities have signed a proclamation to recognize the month as Childhood Cancer Awareness month locally, including San Antonio, Nixon, Kyle and Floresville; and on July 7th, 2015 Governor Abbot declared Childhood Cancer Awareness month for the entire State of Texas.
GO GOLD GLOBAL is seeking support to bring light to the fact that childhood cancer is the #1 killer among children by disease. Cities that participate will be put on a map, to be recognized for giving children a voice — those who are fighting for their lives now, are survivors, and for those who have already passed away.
GO GOLD GLOBAL is also helping to organize a KIDS RIDE NATIONWIDE event at the Texas State Capitol on September 12 from 10 am to 1 pm, with a goal of peacefully requesting more funding for this important cause. Parents and children fighting cancer, survivors, advocates and family and friends will carry signs saying #morethan4. The ride event is free and everyone is welcome.
By Shelley Seale