September is childhood cancer awareness month. Canadian Blood Services and the Gold
Ribbon Campaign have partnered together to encourage families across Ontario to
rally together and donate blood, to honour childhood cancer survivors, and to remember
childhood heroes who lost their lives.
The Gold Ribbon is the international symbol for childhood cancer in every form.
Each year, 1,700 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed. The Gold Ribbon Campaign
was created by Londoner, Stephanie Simmons (three time brain tumour survivor) and
her family to help raise awareness of childhood cancer. The goal of the campaign
is to collect 1,700 units of blood – representing one unit of blood for each of
these young heroes. A child with cancer may need five units of blood every week.
Let's honour these children in their fight. Remember those who have lost their battle.
There are plenty of opportunities to donate blood this September. Please visit us
online at www.blood.ca or call
1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to book an appointment to donate today.
Young Cancer Survivor Started the Gold Ribbon Campaign
Three time brain tumour survivor, Stephanie Simmons, is one of childhood cancer's
greatest adversaries. Among her many efforts to advocate for children facing cancer,
the 18-year-old from London, Ontario—together with her mother, Renee—has created
the Gold Ribbon Campaign to raise awareness about childhood cancer and encourage
people to donate blood in honour of cancer's young victims.
The campaign began in Stephanie's own community but has since spread throughout
Southern Ontario and into Central Ontario.
Stephanie added the "Gold Ribbon" prefix to the campaign because the gold ribbon
is the international symbol for childhood cancer in every form. Each year, 1,700
new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed in Canada alone.
By her 18th birthday in 2012, Stephanie had spent half her young life trying to
deal with the cancer and overcome the disabilities left her by numerous brain surgeries.
Stephanie's diagnosis came in 2004, when she had become so ill that even attending
school was out of the question. Doctors had discovered a kiwi-sized tumour in Stephanie's
brain. After a 20-hour surgery, Stephanie had to learn to do everything all over
again - eat, walk, talk. Then one year after the surgery, doctors had found another
growth in her brain, which required chemotherapy.
Although Stephanie is now tumour-free, she risks post-tumour leukemia from the many
harsh treatments her body has had to endure. She goes for blood tests every six
months to keep the risk in check.
She has received the maximum dose of radiation for her lifetime. The radiation that
she has received has fried the tissue at the back of her throat and from this there
is no recovery. During the time that she was receiving chemo, Stephanie would often
bleed from her mouth. Her mother says that they were all grateful to platelet donors,
because those units would help ease her daughter's suffering.
Stephanie created the Gold Ribbon Campaign in 2006. For her significant contributions,
she's been recognized: In 2011, she received the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year
Award. In 2012, she became recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
For more information about the Gold Ribbon Campaign, visit their Facebook page at:
To dedicate your blood donation to the Gold Ribbon Campaign visit www.blood.ca/joinpartnersforlife
and join as a member by using partner ID # GOLD01312l. This will ensure your donation
will be counted toward the campaigns' total goal.