In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we talked with our very own Steve Payne to highlight a cause near and dear to him; American Childhood Cancer Organization — an organization whose goal is make childhood cancer a national health priority by shaping policy, supporting research, raising awareness, and providing educational resources and programs to children with cancer, childhood cancer survivors, and their families.
1. Tell us about the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO).
ACCO is unique in that we focus on awareness and advocacy. Philanthropy in the childhood cancer space is very crowded, so our uniqueness starts with our membership being made up of families, survivors, and friends who have been affected by childhood and adolescent cancer. ACCO is dedicated to making childhood cancer a national health priority through shaping policy, supporting research, raising awareness, and providing educational resources and innovative programs to children with cancer, survivors, and their families. ACCO offers resources to families and children with cancer at no cost.
2. What is your role with ACCO? What attracted you to this cause?
My initial involvement with ACCO was as a parent of a child undergoing treatment, and a small chapter of ACCO formed at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital Atlanta. Being among other parents for support and information sharing was key to navigating the process and a natural fit for me to use my Information Technology skills to help ACCO establish its first web presence, extend its membership database, and many other back-office support and event activities.
3. What do you think people should know about childhood cancer?
There are two crucial things that people need to know about childhood cancer. First, unless you personally know someone who has been touched by childhood cancer, you may not be aware of just how common and deadly this disease is, yet just how little attention is given to it by policymakers, advocates, and researchers. Second, adolescent cancer victims continue to be treated with medications developed in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the drugs were developed and approved to fight adult cancers. Even when the treatments work, they often result in serious long-term health problems, including secondary cancers, that have a devastating impact on the future of these children.
4. How can people support this cause?
In addition to donating to ACCO online at acco.org we encourage people to:
- Sign childhood cancer related E-petitions
- Change Facebook/Twitter profile images to the gold ribbon—the universal symbol for Childhood Cancer Awareness
- Email or tweet congressional representatives
- Post about childhood cancer advocacy efforts on social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, blogs)
- Inform the public about upcoming ACCO events/fundraisers/volunteer opportunities