Dear Empire State Building, Part 3


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Dear Empire State Building Employees,

There is something you need to understand about childhood cancer and those affected. And there is something you need to understand about social media. We don’t fight alone. Nobody does. A stranger’s battle becomes each of ours. We are in it together. We all talk to each other, and we know it was more than one individual who requested you to light up gold. We know. At least two nonprofit organizations have filled out the form on your website, in hopes of seeing your building light up gold for one night next month. One night is all we ask. We know you have gold light bulbs. Sure, individuals have requested for you to do the same, and perhaps you feel justified in denying them, and perhaps you are, in fact, justified. But when two nonprofit charities have diligently filled out the form, and sent it in, and they are still refused, what then? Are we supposed to just give up? That isn’t how we operate at all. We fight daily for our kids, for our families, for the other kids we know who are fighting for their lives, and yes, for ourselves. Because some of us, me included, are survivors of childhood cancer.

And we all are friends on social media platforms. We all talk to each other. We know who has filled the form on your website. We know parents who posted pictures of their sick children on your Facebook wall, and those posts were promptly deleted by the person who who administrates the page. We just wanted you to see what you were saying no to. We just wanted you to see who you were saying no to. We wanted you to see the babies you are refusing to help. But you just block everyone. Why? We are just going to keep asking. I think all of you know that.

In your statement, you say you provide lighting for World Cancer Day in partnership with American Cancer Society. That is pretty amazing. But did you know that American Cancer Society only gives a penny or less out of every dollar they receive to pediatric cancer? There is a reason why we want you to go gold next month. Pediatric cancer is grossly underfunded. It gets less than 4% of federal funding and there are more types of childhood cancer than you can count on your fingers. On both hands. Everyone in the childhood cancer social media community and in their orbits knows about childhood cancer. Most people step up to help. Other people have their own causes, their own problems. But for us, this is it. This is worth fighting for. Would you not say your own children were worth fighting for? Would you not do anything for them? Their lives depend on you. Sick children’s lives depend on us, on awareness, on action.

That brings me to what you said about people getting frustrated and wishing cancer on you. First off, I doubt that was what really happened. Nobody in this community would ever wish cancer on somebody else, even someone they don’t get along with very well. Cancer is a horrible nightmare. If you had gone through it, either yourself or with a loved one, you would know that. If someone within our community is “abusive,” as you say, then it is out of sheer frustration and has nothing to do with you personally. We are all human. We are all running a million miles a minute and getting nowhere fast. You said no to Thumbs Up for Lane Goodwin Childhood Cancer Foundation and you said no to The Ronan Thompson Foundation. We have been asking for at least two years. If we get a little frustrated, who are you to blame us, really? Kids are dying every single day all over the world, and these are battles we can’t fight for them. But the fight for awareness and funding? That is what we can do. We will keep coming. We will keep asking. And that is a promise.

Sincerely,

Danielle
Stage IV neuroblastoma survivor
Diagnosed at 15 and a half months

 

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3 Comments

  1. LS

     /  August 21, 2014

    This is the best letter yet. Non-emotional but forceful. Polite yet tough. Written by a survivor. I do not think the ESB would have initially understood how little funds pediatric cancer gets from American Cancer Society but I believe their own personal awareness will be slowly growing now, with particular thanks to this letter. And I then think they will re-think and light that sucker up in gold!

    Reply
  2. Jenni

     /  August 22, 2014

    I LOVE this letter! LOVE it. You were so respectful and asked great questions and gave great information. And I especially love how you mentioned the part about ESB employees saying that the worst part about the “abuse” they have been receiving is that someone “wished” cancer on them. I agree with you…I don’t really believe anyone would say that. But, IF they did, is that really the WORST part about all of this?? Um, news flash….you can’t make a wish and give someone cancer. For that to be offensive, is utterly absurd. And it speaks volumes to the lack of perspective and priorities that these offended people have regarding childhood cancer (or any cancer for that matter).

    I have great admiration for people like you who stand up for what is right, even though it is not what is easiest!

    Reply
    • Thank you for posting this, Maya! And the comments are kind. Thank you. ❤️ I really hope someone at the Empire State Building does read this, and the other letters. And if they don’t change their minds this year, like Maya says, we just have to go gold ourselves.

      xoxo

      Reply

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