While ASK’s mission is to make life better for kids with cancer in Central Virginia, we recently had an opportunity expand our reach and help pediatric cancer patients and survivors from across the state.
Working together with the Virginia Childhood Cancer Work Group, ASK helped organize Virginia Childhood Cancer Awareness Day at the General Assembly on February 15th. In addition to ASK, the VCCWG includes representatives from major pediatric cancer treatment centers from around the state – Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Carilion Children’s at Carilion’s Clinic, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters and University of Virginia Children’s Hospital.
Our awareness day started bright and early with a kick-off breakfast at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU where advocates received their key messages and meeting assignments. Our eighty advocates then walked across Capitol Square to the General Assembly where they spent a busy morning meeting with legislators and their staff. Our focus this year was to make sure that folks learned about how many young Virginians get cancer each year, the challenges that they face and the lack of state resources to support them.
“The awareness day was such a great opportunity to educate our state’s leaders. The delegates I spoke with seemed surprised at the lack of support, and hopefully our efforts planted a seed for change” said Jeff Hennessey, ASK dad and advocate.
It was inspiring to see parents, patients, survivors, doctors, social workers and other community advocates from around the state all come together for a common cause. We hope that this will be a first step toward raising the level of care for all pediatric cancer patients and survivors in Virginia.