Combating Childhood Cancer Club to Host Cancer Awareness Fair

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According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (National PCF), only 4% of the money spent on cancer research and treatment goes towards childhood cancer, and the Combating Childhood Cancer Club (C4) wants to change that. Junior Roma Dhingra founded the club last year. The summer of 2018, she volunteered in a pediatric oncology department in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and had witnessed the impacts of childhood cancer. Since then, Dhingra has been working through the club to raise money for childhood cancer treatment and research. The C4 club has done candy-selling events, held coin drives, and made coloring books for children in hospitals. This spring, they take on their biggest project yet: a cancer awareness fair on the Whalen Commons. 

Junior Nana Sarkodie, Publicity Manager for the club, said “although the club has had fundraisers throughout the school year, the club has not had an event this large.”

Keith Gordon, club sponsor, shares similar sentiments, noting, “the overall organization of an event this large is a challenge in and of itself.”

The fair, which will be on October 10th from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., will feature games, such as pie-in-the-face and balloon darts, where attendees can spend their afternoon. As for food, the C4 club has talked to a couple of food truck vendors, such as Kona Ice, and some local restaurants, such as Subway and Kristopher’s. There will also be a flag football scrimmage, with a $1.00 entry fee. People can even donate new toys that will go to children at the hospital.

Junior Elizabeth Attumalil, Vice President, says “I’m heading the art show for the fair and I’m really excited to see what people come up with!”

The C4 club is working with the principals of the four schools in the Poolesville cluster to organize this art showcase at the fair. Students from Poolesville HS, John Poole MS, Poolesville ES, and Monocacy ES will be encouraged to submit pieces, and fairgoers can then vote on winners on the day of the event. 

While this may be their first cancer awareness fair, Attumalil said, “based on how it goes this year, I would say it would for now be every two years…but hopefully in the future we can make it annual!”

The money raised at this fair will go to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, which is to specifically fund childhood cancer research and treatments. 

“Adult cancer therapies are too strong for children,” Dhingra says about specifically raising money and awareness for childhood cancer. 

According to National PCF’s facts page, 43 children per day are expected to be diagnosed with cancer. Furthermore, more than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health-related issue by the time they are 45 years of age, due to side effects of cancer treatments. Additional funding could help find more kid-friendly treatments. 

So far, Dhingra says “we’re just going with it. If ideas pop up in our head we just implement it.” 

This means that the fair could potentially have a lot more activities when it actually happens. They’re already working with local restaurants to plan fundraisers for the awareness fair, and have held a few fundraisers already to generate money that can be used in their budget.