Galway landmarks to ‘Light It Up Gold’ for childhood cancer awareness
By Martina Nee
A number of buildings and landmarks around the country, including the fountain in Eyre Square and the g Hotel in Galway city, will be bathed in gold from September 1 as part of the inaugural ‘Light It Up Gold’ iniative which aims to raise awareness of childhood cancer.
According to organisers many more buildings and landmarks in Galway could yet being going gold for the event, which is taking place during the first week of September. September was chosen as it is childhood cancer awareness month and gold is the official colour.
Among the buildings already confirmed nationally are St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Convention Centre, The O2, and Smithfield in Dublin, as well as buildings in Cork, and Donegal. They will join other famous landmarks across the globe including the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, and Atlantic Wharf as part of the 15+ country initiative.
The ‘Light It Up Gold’ iniative was set up by a group of parents of children with childhood cancer in a bid to raise much needed funds to finish the St John’s cancer ward in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin which cares for the 160 children who are diagnosed with cancer every year. To launch the initiative a candlelit vigil will be held at 7.30 pm on Saturday August 31 at the Mansion House, Dublin.
Paddy Richards, one of the ‘Light It Up Gold’ team said: ‘Too little is being done to raise awareness of the issue of childhood cancer in Ireland, which devastates families and is on the rise. The funds we raise will go a long way in modernising the inadequate facilities that exist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin and supporting the wonderful staff who care for our children.”
Professor Owen Smith, consultant haematologist says, “It shouldn’t be up for debate – children should be given the best treatment and the best healing and recovery conditions. In terms of the physical conditions in St John’s ward, they’re 50 years behind the level of care we are providing.
“The challenge is to improve survival rates whilst minimising short and long term side effects with more humane and less damaging treatments and that ultimately, we need a cure for childhood cancer.”
Statistics about childhood cancer in Ireland show: In 2010 alone, there were 238 new cases diagnosed; On average, four families per week are told their child has cancer; One in every 300 children is diagnosed with cancer before they reach 20; more than 1,200 children were diagnosed from 2005 to 2010; cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children (2012); treatment is very aggressive, it can last for years, and it can also cause lifelong health issues; one in five children diagnosed with cancer will die within five year; and on average, 34 children die from cancer each year.