A powerful statement.
September is the time for raising awareness of childhood cancer, and that’s exactly what one mother from the U.K. had in mind when she shared her daughter’s last school photo to Facebook.
8-year-old Emily Apicella passed away in December 2015 from a Wilms’ tumor, a rare cancer that begins in the kidneys. Her battle against the disease started in January 2013 with surgeries, chemotherapy and clinical trials.
“In July to August 2015, we came off trial as it wasn’t working and came home to make memories of our time left,” Emily’s mom Julie told Huffington Post U.K. “There were no treatments left to try.”
On September 7, Apicella edited her daughter’s final school photo from 2015 together with a photo of the same spot in 2016, and posted the results to Facebook in the hopes of persuading her friends to add a gold ribbon for childhood cancer awareness to their profile photos.
“Raising awareness of symptoms and that childhood cancer is not rare, [its] the first hurdle to jump,” Apicella wrote on Facebook. “Eventually, the gold ribbon of childhood cancer will be as well-known as the pink ribbon for breast cancer, but it takes people to actually post on social media for this to happen.”
As of September 15, her Facebook post has received over 10,000 shares.
Although cancer is the second most common cause of death for kids in the U.S. ages 1 to 14, the tide is now changing. The mortality rate for childhood cancer in the U.S. is declining, potentially in part because of increased awareness as well as advances in treatment.
G9, a childhood cancer nonprofit, recommends increasing childhood cancer awareness and raising donations by organizing penny wars in schools, asking businesses to hang gold ribbon decorations and sharing the hashtag #growGold on social media.
Or, as Apicella suggested, you can raise awareness by adding a gold ribbon to your Facebook profile. It’s a small — and simple — step you can take to contribute in the fight to end childhood cancer.