This Saturday, 1 September, the Sydney Opera House sails with be lit gold for the start of Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
To honour the 950 children diagnosed with cancer per year, the iconic landmark will host a candlelight vigil and light the sails gold as a symbol of solidarity with all children and families affected by the disease.
The Kids’ Cancer Project initiated the event with Cancer Australia, and has invited collaborative research-focused partners to join in this special ceremony including the Children’s Cancer Institute, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation.
Owen Finegan, CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project is delighted with the initiative.
"September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and this candlelight vigil event symbolises our solidarity and unity with all children and families affected by the disease and our determination to raise awareness that kids with cancer need community support,” Mr Finegan said.
Christine Bolitho’s daughter Rebecca, aged ten, was diagnosed with a rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare type of muscle cancer, in February this year.
“We first noticed a puffy, swollen eyelid,” said Mrs Bolitho. “Becky underwent surgery to remove a tumour from her eye cavity that was almost the size of her eyeball."
"Following this Becky was placed on a treatment protocol of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for 22 weeks and has just finished treatment."
Associate Professor Tracey O’Brien, Director of the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick says the event pays tribute to the children and families affected by cancer.
"The event is not only a celebration of how far we have come, but a heart-warming tribute to those young lives taken too soon. It’s also a symbol of hope for the children and their families currently in hospital wards around the country receiving treatment. We stand together to raise awareness, improve care and find a cure for all children,” said Associate Professor O’Brien.
Cancer kills more children than any other disease in Australia. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month gives these children and their families a national voice and the community an opportunity to show them they are not alone.
Professor Murray Norris AM, Deputy Director of Children's Cancer Institute, shared, “Childhood cancer research is not something we do in isolation, it’s an international community working together inspired daily by the brave children who have had their lives affected by this insidious disease.
"The candlelight vigil and tribute wall is the perfect opportunity for families and friends to help raise awareness of the need for more childhood cancer research. With the help of the community, we believe that one day we will be able to find a cure for every child through research,” said Professor Norris.
Events will continue throughout September to spread greater awareness and encourage every Australian to fundraise for research and science into finding a cure for childhood cancer.
To find out how you can get involved, visit our Fundraising & Events page.