September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month; a particularly poignant month as this is the month when children go back to school after a fun summer. At every school gate, tearful mums wave their kids off to school on their first day and social media is covered in pictures of proud children. A wonderful day for most families.
Devastatingly, this is not the case for so many. With just under 12 children being diagnosed with childhood cancer every day - so many families will have a very different start to the school year. Of these children diagnosed every day, three will die.
Childhood cancer remains today the biggest killer of children and young adults after accidental injury. This is an eye-opening statistic, with one in every 285 children and young people being diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. For some reason, however, this issue does not seem to get the coverage that some other childhood illnesses receive.
In the last 20 years, there have been only three medications licenced for childhood cancer, compared to over 80 medications in the last five years for adult cancers. This gives an idea of the void of funding that childhood cancer faces, and is the reason why the Glow Gold in September awareness campaign was started.
This year, there is a new and growing campaign called Glow Gold in September for childhood cancer. It is working as part of childhood cancer awareness month to encourage iconic buildings throughout the UK and the world to light up gold for childhood cancer.
Buildings and structures such as Birmingham Airport, Leeds Castle (Kent), Canary Wharf and even the fountains in Trafalgar Square are lighting up gold to help raise awareness.
Internationally, the Glow Gold campaign is delighted that even the Taj Mahal and Niagara Falls are lighting up to raise awareness of this problem.
I'm founder of the Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust, which is one of the founder members of this campaign, and our charity is delighted to have the backing of a large number of other major cancer charities as well.
October is breast cancer awareness month - we all know that it is the month we 'Go Pink.' Huge amounts of funds and awareness have been raised by campaigners who fought to raise the profile of breast cancer. It has really worked, and as a result, some remarkable treatments are emerging in and survival rates are continually improving. This is wonderful, but now we need to do something about childhood cancer too.
Sadly, childhood cancer is decades behind in both awareness and funding. Here is our turn to do something about it.
Please support by visiting Glowing Gold in September Gold for Childhood Cancer for daily facts throughout the month of September.
You can also help by buying a pin badge or bracelet from any major childhood cancer charity (stocked by the CCLG - Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group online shop). Or maybe do a bake sale or decorate a shopfront gold. It all helps.
One of the easiest ways is to show your support for oncology families and raise awareness simply by sharing this article and reading my articles Childhood cancer: early diagnosis saves lives and Brain tumours in Children: what we should be looking for? Awareness of these symptoms is vital to early diagnosis of affected children.
Children are our future. They need us to fight for them as they are not yet old enough to do it for themselves. They are the doctors, teachers and scientists of the future so we all need to do our bit to give them the chance that they deserve.
Dr Jennifer Kelly, Founder of the Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust for Childhood Cancer.