A bipartisan resolution sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space (both R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) to promote education and awareness about childhood cancer is now law after it was signed by Governor Chris Christie.
The resolution was inspired by Nicholas DaSilva, a Hardyston resident who was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Burkitt lymphoma when he was just 5 years old. Since his cancer has gone into remission, he has worked to help other children with the disease. Along with the other members of his family, Nicholas has raised money to help other kids through donations to the Valerie Fund and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
“Nicholas and his family are an inspiration, and have done so much already to raise awareness to childhood cancers,” Senator Oroho said. “This special week of awareness will encourage school districts to participate in ‘going gold’ activities to help foster an understanding of childhood cancers among youth and build compassion for those battling the disease.”
The resolution, SJR-49, designates the third week in September of each year as “Go Gold for Kids with Cancer Awareness Week.” While childhood cancer is rare, it’s still the leading cause of death from disease in American children under the age of 19. For kids battling cancer or those who have survived it, adjusting to school and other social settings can be difficult. As part of the special awareness week, schools will be encouraged to have appropriate activities and programs that promote a better understanding of childhood cancer. It also calls upon public officials and the citizens of the state to join in wearing a gold ribbon, which is the international awareness symbol for childhood cancer.
“Readjusting to school after treatment isn’t easy for childhood cancer survivors. Sometimes they get anxious because of how their treatment or the disease has affected their appearance, and they’re worried about what other kids might think of them,” said Assemblyman Space. “Once they have a better understanding of cancer and the recovery process, classmates can be a tremendous help by being welcoming and compassionate to a child who is returning from treatment.”
The DaSilva family has been encouraged in their efforts and sought guidance from another Sussex County resident, Hap Rowan of Frankford. Since 2008, Hap has been battling a rare carcinoid cancer known as neuroendocrine tumor, or NET, cancer. In 2012, Hal worked with Senator Oroho and then Assembly Members Alison Littell McHose and Gary Chiusano to annually designateNovember 10 as “Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer Awareness Day” in New Jersey.