The DC/Northern Virginia Chapter of the For A Day Foundation had a truly amazing and inspiring time participating in the CureFest for Childhood Cancer in September. Despite a rocky weather forecast for the nation’s capital, thousands of people from all over the nation gathered on the National Mall to unite as one voice against childhood cancer. There were ballerinas, Disney characters, and of course, superheroes and princesses!
The Chapter members set up our princess and superhero wares in a booth at the Sunday festival and got to work right away passing out For A Day information cards and flyers to the festival attendees. Of course, the main attraction to the booth was our sparkling tiaras and our creativity station, which included make-your-own princess crowns, masks, and snap bracelets. One of our visitors bedazzled an adorable cub mask and insisted on growling like a bear the entire time she was decorating. Rawr!
Most of the kids who visited the For A Day booth were patients who were just beginning or just ending treatment, although you couldn’t tell because of how radiant and excited they were while trying on tiaras or adding just the right amount of jeweled stickers to their mask. Their energy served as reminder of how resilient children can be and how important it is to be strong and fierce in the face of adversity.
Although interacting with the kids was a highlight of the event, the most awe-inspiring moments came from conversing with family members of cancer patients. Did you know that only 4% of federal government cancer research funding goes to study pediatric cancer? One family from Oklahoma stopped by the booth and spoke to us about the loss of one of their young family members earlier that year and how her life and her struggle were worth more than just 4%. Despite this somber conversation, it reiterated that there is so much more work to be done to find a cure for pediatric cancer and how important it is to continuously enrich the lives of pediatric cancer patients all over the nation.
Overall, CureFest for Childhood Cancer 2018 was a rousing success! We recruited many new volunteers and initiated potential partnerships other organizations who, like For A Day, believe that the best thing we can do for pediatric cancer patients to just let them be kids. We can’t wait to do it next year. In all, we served about 75 kids.
-Meg Carson, Local Chapter Director