September is National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, which usually means a flurry of activity at Cal’s Angels, a nonprofit that “provides hope and support to children fighting cancer through various programs”. The nonprofit received a CFFRV grant in 2018 to expand its workspace and more effectively provide programming that includes financial assistance, wish granting, hospital care kits, and much more.
Each September, the nonprofit’s Be Bold, Go Gold Challenge inspires the community to raise awareness about pediatric cancer using the official color gold. This typically includes GOLD OUT games in which students wear official GO GOLD apparel and “pack the stands” at least once in September. Athletes are also encouraged to GO GOLD, and Cal’s Angels can even arrange for a child they’ve served to be honored at the school’s special game.
Even amid changes brought on by COVID-19, co-founder and president Stacey Wahlberg is excited to highlight the September programming that has already created a buzz in the community.
First, there’s the 24-hour bike ride that started in the afternoon on Monday, August 31. Six cyclists traveled 220 miles nonstop from the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital to the Cal’s Angels office in St. Charles to raise awareness and kick off Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
This year’s modified Be Bold, Go Gold Challenge is also “already gaining a lot of momentum”, said Wahlberg. The challenge inspires community members to select four personal records, then encourage loved ones to sponsor them as they attempt to beat those records – reading four more books, for example, or completing four good deeds. (The number four represents the mere four percent that pediatric cancer receives from federal funding.)
On September 24, Cal’s Angels is hosting a blood drive from 10:00-4:00 at the Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva. “There is always a need for blood and it’s an easy thing for most to be able to do that only requires your time,” said Wahlberg.
The awareness month will culminate in the More than Fore Golf Outing on October 1, an annual fundraising event and dinner. Wahlberg encourages those interested to visit the event’s web page for more details.
To learn more about the impact Cal’s Angels is creating in the community, click here.