Town of Smithtown Hosts Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
On Thursday, September 7th, 2023, local officials joined together with Smithtown Central School District, local parent advocate and Solving Kids' Cancer partner Amy Beach, families and friends to kick off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with the annual ‘Go Gold’ Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Hall. The tree at Town Hall is adorned in gold bows, bearing the names of local children who are actively fighting cancer, in remission or have since passed away. The lights and ribbons on the tree were originally donated to the Town courtesy of Katia Conte, founder of the Daniela Conte Foundation in 2021. Additionally, life size gold awareness ribbons, donated by the Thomas Scully Foundation, are on display at the Smithtown Bull Monument, at Town Hall, the Parks Department and at the Highway Department through the month of September. Local mom and advocate of Solving Kids' Cancer Amy Beach distributed gold laces as a part of the “Lace up for Kids” partnership, in honor of her son Dylan. Additionally, the Town distributed and donated approximately 200 gold ribbon charms for the school to distribute with the “Lace up for Kids” initiative on September 22nd.
“Many of the families here with us tonight will tell you, cancer doesn’t take a day off. That is why we are all here tonight as one community, one family… to let every parent, or caregiver, with a child diagnosed with cancer know that you are not alone. We are here to fight for you, cry with you, laugh with you, pray with you and hopefully work to discover more humane treatments and an eventual cure. Only then can we truly celebrate with you.” - Supervisor Ed Wehrheim
Each year, the Town of Smithtown raises awareness for childhood cancers in the month of September through various activities and events. These efforts are intended to help fund and raise awareness, identify breakthroughs and fill gaps in the treatment landscape, and direct research to the areas with the greatest need.
“The mission of the Thomas Scully Foundation is to bring A Little Bit of Happiness to children with cancer today, while supporting a cure for tomorrow. The foundation delivers care packages to bring comfort and joy to children, while they’re in local NY hospitals. They also support a cure for tomorrow, by providing A Little Bit of Hope grants. These are given to families seeking innovative treatments for their child… The Thomas Scully Foundation would like to thank the Town of Smithtown, for helping to bring awareness to childhood cancer by going gold for the third year in a row. Not only are you helping to bring awareness, but you’re also letting everyone know that you support those children and families who have been affected. We thank you for that.” - Debbie Scully, Thomas Scully Foundation (Read by Amy Beach on behalf of Debbie Scully)
“One in five children diagnosed with cancer in the United States will not survive. And for the ones that do, the battle is never over. The majority of childhood cancer survivors have chronic health problems because of the treatments they had as kids. Childhood cancer research is consistently under funded, with less than 4% of the federal budget for cancer research in the United States of America dedicated to childhood cancer. Solving Kids' Cancer is an organization that finds, funds and advocates for breakthrough treatment options to cure children with the most fatal pediatric cancers. They help accelerate new, next generation treatments, including immunotherapy, cancer vaccines and new drugs, by applying an understanding of the entire childhood cancer landscape to wisely invest in innovative treatments… All September long, Smithtown Schools will be swapping out our regular shoe laces for gold ones. The Smithtown Central School District students will receive gold laces at each of their respective school buildings. Fall sports teams will be participating in the 'Lace up for Kids' campaign. And on Friday, September 22nd, we will have a district wide Go Gold day. We invite all of you as well to care, wear and share your gold throughout this month of September… We look forward to many more years of partnership, awareness and advocacy until one day, there is a cure. Be Bold. Go Gold. Because every kid deserves a chance to grow up.” - Amy Beach, Solving Kids' Cancer Childhood Cancer Research Advocate and Smithtown Parent
About the Daniela Conte Foundation:
Anthony and Katia Conte founded the Daniela Conte Foundation in 2020 to raise awareness, fund research to develop less toxic, more targeted treatments for childhood cancers with a specific focus on Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS), and financially assist pediatric patients and their families going through treatment. Daniela passed away from Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma on March 2, 2020. It is her legacy that we proudly carry on today. Learn more at: danielacontefoundation.org
About the Thomas Scully Foundation:
Founded in 2017 to honor the life of Thomas Scully, the mission of the foundation is to bring "A Little Bit of Happiness" to children with cancer today, while supporting a cure for tomorrow. The Thomas Scully Foundation is fulfilling this mission with "A Little Bit of Happiness" care packages that bring comfort and joy to the children stuck in local New York hospitals. Additionally, the Thomas Scully Foundation supports a cure for tomorrow by providing "A Little Bit of Hope'' grants to families seeking innovative treatment for their child. These grants assist families who are New York residents for the time being, although the foundation hopes to expand this in the future. Learn more at: thomasscullyfoundation.org
About Solving Kids' Cancer (Lace Up for Kids):
Solving Kids' Cancer finds, funds and advocates for breakthrough treatment options to cure children with the most fatal pediatric cancers. The foundation's focus is on aggressive childhood cancers with low survival rates because Every Kid Deserves to Grow Up ®. Solving Kids' Cancer helps accelerate new, next-generation treatments, including immunotherapy, cancer vaccines, and new drugs by applying an understanding of the entire childhood cancer research landscape to wisely invest in innovative projects. Learn more at: solvingkidscancer.org
About the Smithtown Children’s Foundation:
The Smithtown Children’s Foundation, a not for profit, 501c3, assists families in crisis, from paying medical and overdue household bills, to buying medical equipment not covered by insurance. The foundation manages college scholarships for graduating seniors, many in memory of loved ones lost. The foundation has become a resource for Smithtown’s most in need, working closely with social workers, providing backpacks/school supplies, as well as holiday gift cards and gifts. Learn more at: smithtownchildrensfoundation.com
To watch the full ceremony, please visit Smithtown GTV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYDequuAey0