According to the Facebook Group, Childhood Cancer Awareness, “Every single day children are diagnosed with Childhood Cancer. This means that not only their lives will change, but the lives of their family members will change as well. Life as they know it will never be the same. It means one parent will be traveling to the hospital with their sick child for treatment that may be hours away from home. This leaves the other parent at home to work and care for their other children. We need new treatments, more funding, more awareness, and lots of prayers for each of the families that have a child with cancer. Most of all these kids need a cure.”
Childhood Cancer is a growing epidemic globally. Hundreds of children a day are diagnosed with some form of cancer. It is truly a horrible disease that no child, family member, or friend should have to go through. In Carbon County, several families have been impacted by Childhood Cancer. Local teenager, Landrie Anderson, started Go Gold Memorial to honor those who have been affected by this disease. Holding a Memorial Walk in September gives community members a chance to come together to honor those who have been affected by Childhood Cancer.
“Go Gold Memorial started with inspiration of the kindness of spreading rocks that can be found all over,” Anderson said when asked about Go Gold Memorial’s origins. “I wanted to do something more specific that would mean something to a more specific group of people. It was September when I was planning this, and I learned that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This is something that has such a lasting effect on our community, so I knew it was a great cause to support.”
Go Gold Memorial’s general goal is to support the community.
“Go Gold is a project founded to show support for those fighting, recovering, those who have passed, and anyone who has been impacted by Childhood Cancer,” Anderson said. “It consists of community rock painting nights. The rocks are painted with names, memories, animals, dates, and kind words. They are placed in memorial form around a tree at the Price River Trail. This way all the rocks can be viewed year-round. As September arrives, the Memorial Walk then takes place. This event brings together the community in a time that is not easy, and is an opportunity for people to realize they are not alone. A commemorative plaque has been placed with the rock memorial to display information about the project for all who visit the Price River Trail.
The community and Anderson’s parents have been huge supporters of the project.
“Aside from the community, my parents–Stacy and Frank–are my biggest supporters,” Anderson said. “They back me 100 percent and always make sure I have everything I need to make this project reach its full potential annually.”
However, running Go Gold Memorial has come with its share of challenges.
“A challenge I tend to have is scheduling,” Anderson said. “September is a busy time, so it can be challenging to find the right date for paint nights and the Memorial Walk. I wanted to make sure that people could participate in my event as well as other events put in within the community. I feel that I was successful in doing so this year. It is also challenging at times to know when to ask for help. I like to know that I’m doing things to my absolute best, but I have learned the importance of allowing others to help.”
The community has also played a massive part in helping grow Go Gold.
“The community has helped me grow Go Gold by showing their support,”Anderson said. “Although that seems like a general term, it truly makes a world of difference. Countless businesses, organizations, and families help me to advertise as well as make donations. Their advertisements help get the world and encourage new people to get involved. The donations help provide the necessary painting supplies as well as funding for the new addition of a plaque. As time goes on, people share this project with their friends, and the outreach comes in ties to the growth. Everyone knows someone that could use a little bit of light during this time.”
Go Gold isn’t stopping here.
“My main goal for this is to continue to grow the outreach,” Anderson said. “The event has occurred three times annually so far, and I am just blown away by the outcome each year. It’s overwhelming to see the outpour of those impacted by Childhood Cancer. But it’s so rewarding to see those who want to support their community.
Anderson has drawn inspiration for Go Gold’s walk from a variety of sources.
“I got the idea for the walk because I wanted there to be a way for everyone to be together to view the painted rocks, as the rocks are often painted at varying times,” Anderson said. “I wanted there to be an opportunity for people to get to know each other and to offer their strength to one another. You really don’t realize how many people are affected until you start something like this. I knew that the walk would be the ideal opportunity for people to spend some time with their thoughts that may have been pushed away and to see that there is hope within our community. The walk ends with the viewing of the rock memorial, and is a great way for people to share their experiences and be present in the moment.
Cancer is someone that affects everyone. Regardless of whether one is directly, or indirectly affected.
“I have connected with different families all in different ways,” Anderson said. “I’ve had people contact me who are unable to attend the event, but want to participate. They share their stories of their loved ones, living and passed, and in return I paint a rock for the memorial in their honor. I have also connected with families who have lost a child to this terrible disease. They are not afraid to share the truth about what they really go through. Their support is vital as they spread awareness through their experiences. They also bring in the support of others and provide their support to other families going through similar things. Connecting with families of those who are in remission has had the most lasting impact on me. These families offer their support to other families participating. They also share their grief of the burdens that most are unaware of.
“But most importantly, the children affected display their resilience and strength. It is something that no one should ever have to go through, but they take it like a champ. They experience things most of us will never understand, but they just keep fighting.
“I already knew the impact cancer has on the people in our community; that’s why I started Go Gold. But watching firsthand the impact it truly has on everyone, even those you don’t know, is unreal. It made me realize that this was something I needed to keep doing.
“Cancer sees no limit and does not care about age. It takes lives and experiences away from the innocent. It’s so hard on little bodies, and unfortunately, it has a lasting impact. It’s something no one should ever have to go through, and no parent should ever have to explain to their child that they have cancer.
“I encourage you to take in their strength and to find a way to get involved and spread awareness. With awareness, there is hope. Hope for a cure, hope for more funding, hope for more research, and hope for one day no one will ever have to experience cancer.”