GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Cancer is the leading cause of death in Eastern Carolina and children are no exception to being vulnerable to the disease.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. With President Biden announcing his reignition of the Cancer Moonshot program, there’s attention drawn to the youngest of the patients being affected.
State Cancer Profiles reports that up to 47 kids a year are diagnosed with cancer in Eastern Carolina. As for the state of North Carolina overall, that number sits around 416.
The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation says 43 children a day are diagnosed with cancer, and 1 in 285 in the United States will be diagnosed before they are 20. Yet, they also report that only 4% of the billions of dollars the government spends on cancer is directed toward childhood cancer.
Riley’s Army is an organization in Greenville focused on providing support to children with cancer and their families. Executive Director Lynn Pischke says childhood cancer is more common than a person would think.
“If you went to a school and combined all of their third grades, at least one of those kids in the third grade would develop cancer in their lifetime before they are an adult,” Pischke says.
Riley’s Army provides financial, emotional, and social support for kids, as well as their families, diagnosed with cancer in eastern North Carolina. The nonprofit is actively helping 30 families at a time.
They, and other businesses and households, vocalize their support and awareness of the disease with a gold ribbon bow. The bow stands as the international awareness symbol of childhood cancer.
“We have patients that are [at] Saint Jude, Chapel Hill, or in Cleveland. They could be anywhere,” Pischke says. “If they live here and they’re from here and they register to be one of our families, then take care of them regardless of where they are geographically.”
If you would like to get involved with cancer awareness programs in Eastern Carolina, you can start by visiting the sites seen below:
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