Huntington and Smithtown joined us in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by “Going Gold” in September. Twinkling gold lights and shining gold ribbons donated by DCF adorned the trees outside of the town hall in both communities for the month - because every child’s life is as precious as gold. The ribbons featured the names of children who have lost their battles with cancer, a reminder of the magnitude of this fight. Even area youths joined in the cause, responding to DCF-proctored awareness assemblies with students from Commack High School, Walt Whitman High School, and Bethpage High School adding gold laces to their shoes. By “Going Gold,” a practice adopted in 1997, we can shine a light on the work that still needs to be done to combat a disease that affects 15,000 American children each year.
The Daniela Conte Foundation was formed in memory of Daniela Conte, a bright-eyed little girl from Long Island who loved dance and gymnastics. Daniela was eight years old when she passed away peacefully on March 2, 2020, after a four-year battle with childhood cancer. The reality is that every day 47 kids just like Daniela – bright, vivacious, and innocent – will receive a pediatric cancer diagnosis. Seven of them will not survive their battle, a statistic that has hardly changed over the last twenty years. We “Go Gold” to spread awareness about this reality so that we can change it.
Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children and a diagnosis that is on the rise. It’s a disease that does not discriminate and affects hundreds of families right here in our greater Long Island community. Yet, research funding and treatment advances lag considerably when compared to those of adult cancers; and it receives only 4 percent of federal cancer research funds. At DCF, we believe that our children, and your children, are worth more than 4 percent.
Daniela’s name was among those that graced the golden tree ribbons in Smithtown and Huntington and serves as a reminder that every one of us can affect change. Through direct grants, research support, and awareness, DCF has helped hundreds of pediatric cancer patients and their families in Daniela’s honor. By “Going Gold” in September, Smithtown and Huntington joined DCF in our battle for the life of every precious child.
If your town or community is interested in “Going Gold” in 2023, or if your school or athletics association would like information on DCF programming for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, please email us at email@example.com.
Written by: Katia Conte, President & Co-Founder