Dear Empire State Building, Part 9





Dear Empire State Building,

I started reading Maya’s Rockstar Ronan blog about 2 years ago when my son was a year old. I instantly felt connected to her. Probably because as a relatively new mother at the time, I could relate to the fierce love she felt for her children, including the little boy that she lost in such a horrific way. Perhaps I felt an even stronger connection with her because I share the same birthday as her beautiful boy Ronan. I don’t really know the reason, but I do know that every time I read her blog I found myself crying – and, I am not a crier. My husband would watch me in shock and ask me to stop reading the blog since it made me so upset. And I would respond that I can’t. Because, at the end of the day, even if you close your eyes, pediatric cancer does not go away. And one day it may impact you directly and change your life forever. And the idea that you can wake up one day and take your child to the doctor and find out that they have some form of cancer – rare or not — is the most terrifying thing in the world.

For me, the hardest thing about being a parent is the fear that one day something bad will happen to the little person that I love more than anything else in this world. I like to think that I can protect my son from all the bad things in this world, but the truth of the matter is that no matter how hard I try, there are some things I cannot protect him from. Like cancer. Knowing the truth of that paralyzes me with fear sometimes and makes me feel helpless. I’ve come to realize, however, that doing nothing will not change that reality. Perhaps if we all did something about it, we could change the grim statistics so that a diagnosis of pediatric cancer wouldn’t be so terrifying anymore. We can all make a difference. We can help to raise awareness. We can donate our money and time to the right organizations. We can lend support to those who need it.

And, Empire State Building, you can do what you do best. Light up Gold for one night in September. There is no reason not to. New York City is home to one of the best cancer hospitals in the world. That hospital, Memorial Sloane Kettering has saved the lives of countless children battling pediatric cancer. It has also sent many children (like Ronan) home to die or has seen them die within its walls. Honor those children. Honor their fight. Bring awareness to pediatric cancer. Awareness eventually leads to more funding and more funding will lead to a cure. Our children deserve a cure. Help give them one.

Go Gold!

-Joanna Kordalis

Dear Empire State Building, Part 8





Dear Empire State Building –




My name is Kate. I am 9 and lucky enough to not have cancer. I know what I want to be when I grow up, but I hope that job isn’t available anymore when I’m a grownup. I want to cure cancer and help little kids get back to normal life! You might wonder why a kid without cancer would care so much about it, so I will tell you…

When I was six, I learned about Ronan and Maya Thompson and my whole life changed. Unfortunately, I could only know Ro through his mama’s stories about him because he died. My mom is my best friend – just like Ro & Maya were best friends. My mama read me Maya’s list of “How to Live Like a Rockstar” and we have been doing that ever since. I didn’t want mamas to have to feel like Maya feels every day because cancer took her sweet spicy monkey away.

My friends and I do everything we can for kids with cancer. We dance to raise money, we decorate pillowcases and posters to brighten hospital rooms, we host lemonade stands, we wear bracelets, we write their names in the sand on beaches, we release balloons on their birthdays and so much more. We do all we can, but we need the help of powerful adults to put big smiles on kids’ faces. Kids are supposed to be in parks playing with their mamas and daddies, not tucked away in hospital rooms. PLEASE HELP US.

The other day, I gave away really good lemonade and lollipops at our park to raise awareness about Childhood Cancer Month in September. I sat down with two volunteers from Camp Sunshine who wanted to hear all about why I was giving away lemonade. I told them 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer every day and that they are treated with medicine for adults. I told them every fact I could remember. They promised to tell more people. Then there were people who never even stopped to get my lemonade or one of the lollipops. It mad me really sad – not because I was a kid GIVING AWAY lemonade, but because that was one more person who didn’t know how big of a problem childhood cancer is and how much these kids need help.

If I could, I would go to companies who make medicine and ask them to help, but I’m a little girl. So, I have to do what I can and be sure to get great grades so I can go to medical school and fix it myself. My mama tells me to ask adults for help when I can’t do something by myself. So, for now I am asking you to help me tell more adults who can help. I live in Boston, but I love New York – everything about it. During my first trip to New York, you were lit up pink for breast cancer. And I just saw you lit up green for the Ninja Turtles – my friends love them! You have such a beautiful building and I hope you will light it up GOLD. That will put smiles on the faces of kids, mamas and daddies everywhere!

I know you are very busy. So, if you take one thing from my letter, please take Maya’s advice on living like a Rockstar. She said, “Trust your instincts. Listen to your heart as it is more powerful than your mind.” I hope your heart will show you the power of fighting for kids with cancer.


Thank you!