Gulf Coast cities mark childhood cancer awareness month

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — This month is childhood cancer awareness month. Several cities here on the Gulf Coast are showing their support for the cause by signing proclamations declaring September childhood cancer awareness month in their cities.

Mobile, Daphne, and Spanish Fort all are signing their own proclamations. The RSA Tower in downtown Mobile will be lit up in Gold Tuesday night as well to raise awareness.

“No child should have to go through this,” Marie Malone said.

It’s a diagnosis no parent wants to hear, cancer. When he was just six years old, Ryan Malone’s family heard those words from the doctor.

“He had Burkitt’s lymphoma,” said Marie, Ryan’s mother.

They were almost immediately were contacted by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital who wanted to help.

“When you go to St Jude, you never receive a bill, they pay for everything, and they take that worry off of you and they give you hope they can save your child’s life. That was important to us because we didn’t know what to expect,” Marie said.

Ryan, now in high school, is cancer-free, but it’s something they can’t forget.

“We still worry about it coming back, even though it’s like maybe a 10% chance of another form of cancer,” said Marie.

Tuesday morning, they joined the Joy of Life on the Gulf Coast and other organizations working to end childhood cancer at the Mobile City Council meeting as they proclaimed September Childhood cancer awareness month for the city. The Joy of Life on the Gulf Coast is Mobile and Baldwin counties only 501(c)3 organizations formed to raise money for St. Jude.

According to the Children’s Cancer Research fund, more than 15,000 children and young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year, which is about 43 a day. It is the number one killer of children more than any other disease.

“It takes awareness, it takes raising the funds for all of the different organizations, especially St. Jude, to help save another child’s life. That is what our goal is,” Marie said.

This year, Ryan is the king of the Joy of Life’s annual Mardi Gras Ball — a full-circle moment for him and his family.

“We always want to be able to hold their hands and say you can get through this. We had them there with us and we want to be there for everyone else,” Marie said.

The Joy of Life Ball, benefitting St. Jude, will be held on Feb. 5, 2022. On Oct. 15, the Joy of Life on the Gulf Coast is hosting its fourth annual golf tournament, also benefitting St. Jude.

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