September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and Amazon will “go gold” for the sixth year with its annual Amazon Goes Gold for Kids with Cancer global campaign, which helps raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research.
The gold ribbon is the universal symbol for childhood cancer, and this year alone, 400,000 children will be diagnosed with pediatric cancer worldwide. Most children affected by the disease can now be cured, with an 85% survival rate, if the right treatment and funding are available. Since 2017, Amazon has donated $16 million worldwide to pediatric oncology programs, and this year Amazon is donating more than $5 million worldwide to leading cancer research institutions as part of its commitment to have a meaningful impact in the communities around the world.
Each September, Amazon employees have many opportunities to show solidarity to kids with cancer, such as volunteering at nonprofits supporting children and families affected by childhood cancer and taking part in local walks or runs to raise funds for pediatric cancer. Some of these employees across the globe have shared their own personal stories about how cancer has affected their lives—and what campaigns like Amazon Goes Gold for Kids with Cancer means to them.
Children with cancer often spend months—even years—living in their pajamas, as they undergo critical treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. That’s why on September 20 and 21, thousands of Amazon employees across the globe will wear pajamas or gold to work, virtually and in person, to show solidarity to the kids affected by cancer.
Meet three individuals who inspire us to continue supporting leading pediatric oncology programs around the world.
Kevin White, Amazon general manager in San Antonio, Texas
White joined Amazon in 2016. Just a few months later, his daughter, Sequoia, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin T-cell lymphoma and leukemia. Suddenly thrust into a new world of navigating hospitals, doctors, and treatments, White said the support he received from fellow Amazon employees allowed him to focus on his family. "I was never put in a position to choose. The culture that we have here is to support people," he said.
White’s family knows there are other kids around the world who continue to fight every day, and they chose to share their story to help raise awareness. He hopes that as awareness increases, new technology will follow. Today, Sequoia is cancer-free and attends Baylor University. White continues his work to spread awareness and support other Amazon employees who are facing a childhood cancer diagnosis.
Stephen Burnell, Amazon health and safety manager in Doncaster, U.K.
When Burnell’s son, Andrew, began feeling unwell, he and his wife both knew right away that something was not right. As an active toddler, Andrew was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At the time, the survival rate for pediatric cancer was around 60%, but, as Burnell explains, “to get in that 60% group, you'd have to have years of chemotherapy,” which could be traumatizing for a 3-year-old to experience. Andrew is now 21 and is in remission, and Burnell hopes that someday there will be a time when every family can receive the same news. This is why Burnell is proud to see how sites around the globe get involved in Amazon Goes Gold for Kids with Cancer, since he knows firsthand the difference that this campaign and raising even greater awareness can make.
Takuji Kaneko, Amazon site leader in Osaka, Japan
Kaneko joined Amazon 10 years ago. In 2020, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He admits that he did not know much about pediatric cancer before he got his own cancer diagnosis, but as he dealt with his illness, he could only imagine how difficult treatment would be for a child. Kaneko shares his personal experience with cancer to help his colleagues better understand the significance of this cause. He encourages all Amazon employees to wear their pajamas to work this September in solidarity with children living in hospitals in their pajamas.
In addition to learning from Amazon employees connected to this cause, we spoke with the team at a children's cancer clinic at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany. Gabriel Hänsel, a retired pediatric nurse, and Dr. Dirk Klee, head of radiology, shared how campaigns like Amazon Goes Gold for Kids with Cancer has directly improved the experiences of their patients. The clinic was born out of the desire to offer children the best therapy and improve their quality of life throughout treatment. Hospitals can be sterile and intimidating to young patients, and developing a friendly atmosphere where children can play is really important for making the kids comfortable and happy. Through a long-standing partnership with Amazon, the cancer clinic was able to brighten up their space with room renovations, a new playroom, music therapists, and more. Most recently, local donations were used to purchase a new television for the radiology room where children receive MRI scans to help serve as a distraction and way to keep children calm.
Inspired by individuals like White, Burnell, Kaneko, Hänsel, and Klee, learn more about Amazon Goes Gold for Kids with Cancer’s partners and the incredible work they’re doing to advance the field of childhood cancer research. Below is a list of some of the cancer research organizations that Amazon funds as part of the campaign:
The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research. The COG unites nearly 10,000 experts in childhood cancer at more than 220 leading children’s hospitals, universities, and cancer centers across North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe in the fight against childhood cancer.
The COG has nearly 100 active clinical trials open at any given time. The trials include front-line treatment for many types of childhood cancers, studies aimed at determining the underlying biology of these diseases, and trials involving new and emerging treatments, supportive care, and survivorship.
Learn more about the Children’s Oncology Group.
The International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) is a global society of 2,600 doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and scientists who have dedicated their careers to caring for children with cancer and their families. Our members lead research efforts worldwide to make treatments more effective and less toxic to improve survival and quality-of-life. SIOP offers online training courses on new treatments, provides education through its Annual Congresses, promotes research networking, and works jointly with parents and children to improve advocacy.
Learn more about The International Society of Paediatric Oncology.
The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe, or SIOPE) is the only pan-European organization representing all professionals working in the field of childhood cancers. With more than 2,000 members across 36 European countries, SIOPE is leading the way to ensure the best possible care and outcomes for all children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. To achieve this goal, SIOPE addresses the main challenges faced by European pediatric oncology professionals through a multidisciplinary and pan-European perspective.
Through the integration of research, care, and education, SIOPE and the European community of health professionals address the two goals of the next decade: to increase the cure rate and the quality of cure of children with cancer.
Learn more about The European Society of Paediatric Oncology.
The Asian Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Asia) has a long history since 2012 to increase the cure rate and to improve the quality of cure of children with cancer in Asia. Our goal in the near future sounds together with "WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer” saying that the cure rate of children with cancer in Asia will be increased up to more than 60% by 2030. SIOP and the Asian Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Group (APHOG) collaborates with WHO, St. Jude Global, NGO-MOCC, Amazon Japan, and other related organizations to save the lives of children with cancer in Asia.
Learn more about The Asian Society of Paediatric Oncology.
The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated to childhood cancer in the U.S and around the world. Founded in 1970 by parents of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer, ACCO is committed to shaping state, federal, and international policy; supporting research; raising awareness; and providing educational resources and programs to children with cancer, survivors, and their families.
ACCO continues its 50-year legacy of leadership in the childhood cancer community, including advocacy efforts through the What About Kids state initiative. What About Kids works with legislators to transform policy at the state level to overcome the national disparity between adult and childhood cancer research funding.
Childhood cancer remains the number one cause of death by disease in the U.S. and around the world, and since its founding, the American Childhood Cancer Organization is recognized nationally and internationally for making cancer a child health priority—because kids can’t fight cancer alone.
Learn more about the American Childhood Cancer Organization.
This isn’t about beating the odds. This is about changing them. Seattle Children’s fights relentlessly to make sure there’s no such thing as “out of options” and to make sure kids who “didn't have a chance” can have the childhoods they deserve. The Seattle Children’s team is united by a compelling mission: We provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, we deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research and serve as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho—the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country.
Consistently named among the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s is the top-ranked pediatric facility in the Northwest, and Seattle Children’s cancer program is one of the top-ranked programs of its kind in the United States, which means your child will be cared for by the very best. With more than 100 open clinical trials for pediatric cancer and five-year survival rates consistently above average, at Seattle Children’s we are improving cancer treatment for all kid-kind.
Learn more about Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, D.C., was established in 1870 to help every child grow up stronger. Today, it is among the nation’s top-10 children’s hospitals. It is ranked No. 6 for pediatric cancer nationally and ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children.
The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus opened in 2021, a first-of-its-kind pediatric hub dedicated to developing new and better ways to care for kids. Children’s National has been designated three times in a row as a Magnet® hospital, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty care locations in the D.C. metropolitan area, including Maryland and Virginia. Children’s National is home to the Children’s National Research Institute and Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. It is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels.
Learn more about the Children’s National Hospital.
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is one of the nation's leading children's hospitals, treating and helping to prevent a full range of pediatric health issues from colds and broken bones to complex heart diseases and cancer. Achieving 10 out of 10 nationally ranked pediatric specialties in 2022, it was again named among the nation’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” for the 16th consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report, earning the distinction as the No. 1 pediatric hospital in Tennessee and the Southeast.
Opening in 2004, the nonprofit hospital expanded its physical space in 2012, and recently added four new floors encompassing 160,000 total square feet. The new expansion helps to advance the size and scope of the hospital's mission.
Learn more about Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.
It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened in 1962. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live.
Learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.