On Thursday September 7, local officials joined together with Smithtown Central School District, local parent advocate and Solving Kids Cancer partner; Amy Beach, families and friends to kick off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with the annual ‘Go Gold’ Tree lighting ceremony at Town Hall.
The tree at Town Hall is adorned in gold bows, bearing the names of local children who are actively fighting cancer, in remission or have since passed away. The lights and ribbons on the Tree were originally donated to the Town courtesy of Katia Conte, founder of the Daniela Conte foundation in 2021.
Additionally, life size gold awareness ribbons, donated by the Thomas Scully Foundation are on display at the Smithtown Bull Monument, at Town Hall, the Parks Department and at the Highway Department through the month of September. Local mom and advocate of Solving Kids Cancer; Amy Beach distributed gold laces as a part of the “Lace up for Kids” partnership, in honor of her son Dylan. Additionally the Town distributed and donated approximately 200 gold ribbon charms for the School to distribute with the “Lace up for Kids” initiative on September 22nd.
“Many of the families here with us tonight will tell you, cancer doesn’t take a day off. That is why we are all here tonight as one community, one family… to let every parent, or caregiver, with a child diagnosed with cancer know that you are not alone. We are here to fight for you, cry with you, laugh with you, pray with you and hopefully work to discover more humane treatments and an eventual cure. Only then can we truly celebrate with you,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.
Each year, the Town of Smithtown raises awareness for Childhood Cancers in the month of September through various activities and events. These efforts are intended to help fund and raise awareness, identify breakthroughs and fill gaps in the treatment landscape, and direct research to the areas with the greatest need.
“The mission of the Thomas Scully Foundation is to bring A Little Bit of Happiness to children with cancer today, while supporting a cure for tomorrow. The foundation delivers care packages to bring comfort and joy to children, while they’re in local NY hospitals. They also support a cure for tomorrow, by providing A Little Bit of Hope grants. These are given to families seeking innovative treatments for their child… The Thomas Scully Foundation would like to thank the Town of Smithtown, for helping to bring awareness to childhood cancer by going gold for the third year in a row. Not only are you helping to bring awareness but you’re also letting everyone know that you support those children and families who have been affected. We thank you for that,” added Debbie Scully, Thomas Scully Foundation (Read by Amy Beach on Behalf of Debbie Scully)
“One in five children diagnosed with Cancer in the United States will not survive. And for the ones that do the battle is never over. The majority of childhood cancer survivors have chronic health problems because of the treatments they had as kids. Childhood cancer research is consistently under funded, with less than 4% of the federal budget for cancer research in the United States of America is dedicated to childhood cancer. Solving Kids Cancer is an organization that finds, funds and advocates for breakthrough treatment options to cure children with the most fatal pediatric cancers. They help accelerate new, next generation treatments, including immunotherapy, cancer vaccines and new drugs, by applying an understanding of the entire childhood cancer landscape to wisely invest in innovative treatments,” said Amy Beach of Solving Kids Cancer Childhood Cancer Research Advocate, and a Smithtown Parent.
“All September long, Smithtown Schools will be swapping out our regular shoe laces for gold ones. The Smithtown Central School District students will receive gold laces at each of their respective school buildings. Fall sports teams will be participating in the lace up for kids campaign. And on Friday September 22nd, we will have a district wide Go Gold day. We invite all of you as well to care, wear and share your gold throughout this month of September… We look forward to many more years of partnership, awareness and advocacy until one day, there is a cure. Be Bold. Go Gold. Because every kid deserves a chance to grow up.”