Dear Empire State Building, Part 16






Empire State Building,
We, as a community, are not asking you to light up for individual childhood cancers. All we are asking is that you light up Gold to teach to the millions of people that don’t know today that kids get cancer too. When you light up for world cancer day, most of the viewers don’t know that it includes children. People are unaware that children can get cancer as well and when they think world cancer day, they think of adults. By lighting up gold, you represent and show that kids get cancer too. Again, we are not asking for you to light up Gray for brain cancer, even though it is one of the deadliest forms of childhood cancer. We are not asking for orange for leukemia or pink for breast cancer. We are asking for Gold, the color to symbolize ALL CHILDHOOD CANCERS… that is all..

I lost my friend to cancer in 2012. She was 12 years old. I have a current friend now fighting for her life as well. She’s 14. These kids need our help to raise awareness. We have celebrities donating money and time to these kids. We have people working three jobs, taking time to help raise awareness. We have college, high school and elementary school students starting clubs and raising money. All we ask is that one of the most important and well known buildings in the world, light up gold for one of their available nights to show the people who don’t know, that kids get cancer too.

If it is the way we have applied that is what is causing our request to be denied, then please do us the honor of giving instructions on how to apply differently. If you are going to keep denying us the real reason of why you won’t light gold one night in September, than please do not light up for movie promotions and anniversaries of events. You say you won’t light up for those events as well, however you continue to do so. If you are unable to break rules for dying children, why do four teenage animated turtles, get awareness?
Children are fighting for their lives, receiving adult medications for a disease that is under researched because people are unaware. If you wouldn’t give your child an adult size portion of Tylenol, why are we giving them an adult size portion of a toxic, second cancer causing drug as well? We need awareness.
Thank you,
Jenny Formica

Dear Empire State Building, Part 15





Dear Empire State Building,

Two and a half years ago, this was my daughter. It is hard to look at these pictures; to go back there. She received a stem cell transplant for a very high risk form of Leukemia. To prepare her body for her transplanted immune system she was given high dose chemotherapy and four days of total body irradiation. All of this, just as she was turning two years old. We were told that the treatment itself could kill her and the list of immediate and late side effects was almost endless. We went ahead with the treatment though,signed those terrifying consent forms because, we had no other choice. There was no plan B. This, as her doctors told us, was her only hope for life. Three years post diagnosis, she is still here with us which, I am eternally grateful for but, the cost to her has been high. She has graft verses host disease in her skin, cataracts in both eyes, and her thyroid has been damaged. We have been told that she will not go into puberty without the aid of synthetic medication, and perhaps most crushing, she will be sterile; unable to have children of her own. She is also at high risk of developing secondary cancers and heart disease due to the extremely toxic nature of her treatment.

I have shaved my head twice in an effort to raise awareness and research funds, signed petitions to light the White House gold, kept a blog documenting our journey through the hell that is the pediatric cancer world, and I’ve often felt as though I’m just screaming into the void.

We, as a community, feel so alone and isolated. Evidently the Empire State Building doesn’t take lighting requests from individuals but, we are a community of parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, and friends that is hundreds of thousands strong. We have hardworking researchers, hospital networks, and non-profit organizations desperate to change the options and outcomes for our CHILDREN. Childhood cancers need their own recognition. A light to shine into the dark places, where cures have yet to be found and young, developing bodies are not poisoned to death or near to it in order to have any sort of hope at life.

It is the right thing to do. Helping our children, the most innocent and undeserving members of our society, could never be wrong. Please help us. Please help kids like Olivia. Please help the desperate moms and dads out there who just want to give our children a voice in a world that largely ignores them. Please imagine walking a mile in our shoes. Please shine the light gold.

Rachel Ambroson
Mom to Olivia