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Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

San Francisco, Oakland Join Forces to Support Children with Cancer

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals Team Up with Mayors, Giants, A’s

By Susan Leigh | UCSF.edu | September 14, 2016

San Francisco, Oakland Join Forces to Support Children with Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute cancer is the nation’s leading cause of disease-related death in children past infancy. Photo ©Stephan Babuljak

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals are bringing together the cities of San Francisco and Oakland this week, as well as each city’s baseball team, to raise awareness of pediatric cancer and promote further research funding nationwide.

On Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, the city halls of San Francisco and Oakland will join iconic landmarks, such as Times Square in New York and Blarney Castle in Ireland, in going gold to honor children with pediatric cancer.

At sundown on Friday, San Francisco City Hall will be lit up in gold, the color representing National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which runs through September. Oakland City Hall will mark the day with a gold banner to acknowledge children throughout the Bay Area and beyond with pediatric cancer.

“I applaud the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, and their baseball clubs, for teaming up to raise awareness of pediatric cancer,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo. “Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is one of the worst scenarios that a parent could ever imagine, but less than 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is directly spent on childhood cancer research.

“That’s why I continue to push for additional funding and for the passage of the Childhood Cancer STAR Act in Congress,” she said. “With over 250 cosponsors, this groundbreaking bipartisan and bicameral legislation will promote research opportunities, improve the lives of survivors and ensure patients have access to new potentially lifesaving therapies.” 

Many More Years Lost When Child Succumbs to Cancer

“Childhood cancer cuts short too many young lives and too many families suffer,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “San Francisco is proud to join the call for more funding and more research in this fight to save young lives.”

An estimated 15,780 children and adolescents under 19 were diagnosed with pediatric cancer in 2014, according to the National Cancer Institute, making cancer the nation’s leading cause of disease-related death in children past infancy. The average age of cancer diagnosis in children is 6 years, vs. 67 in adults, and represents an average loss of 71 years of life when a child dies, according to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds for pediatric cancer research.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said that the city welcomes the opportunity to bring childhood cancer to the public’s attention. “We know that adult behavior can influence one’s chance of getting cancer, but there is nothing a child can do to minimize their risk of getting pediatric cancer,” Mayor Schaaf said.

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