Going for Gold to Reach Our Goal.

Wednesday May 23, 2012

Recently, a number of people have asked why we promote the childhood cancer gold ribbon and not a ribbon uniquely for retinoblastoma. This is a good question. Our CEO, Abby White, explains our three key reasons…

In the past few years, the gold ribbon has risen to prominence as the unifying global symbol of childhood cancer.  Around the world, hospitals, support groups, nonprofits, families and communities promote this vibrant symbol of hope.

Shining with the natural joy and optimism of children, the gold ribbon celebrates the victory of each life saved, honours the memory of every precious child lost, and shines with hope of cure for all children with cancer worldwide.

Just as the red ribbon has done for AIDS and the pink ribbon for breast cancer, the gold ribbon has enormous capacity to increase awareness, support and funds raised for childhood cancer causes.

Occasionally, a white or pearl ribbon has been used to promote awareness of retinoblastoma.  Recently, a number of people have asked us why we do not promote such a ribbon and instead supports the gold ribbon campaign.  This is an important question that cuts to the core of our vision, mission and values.

There are three simple reasons for our decision to promote only the gold ribbon and discourage use of a white ribbon.

1. Recognition

The gold ribbon is known only for childhood cancer while the white ribbon is best known for promoting peace and remembering innocent victims of violent crime.

The great power and success of the red and pink ribbon campaigns is that those ribbons are instantly recognized as supporting AIDS and breast cancer respectively.  The gold ribbon has vast potential to achieve the same impact for childhood cancer, while the white ribbon, already well known as a symbol of peace, is likely to cause confusion and dilute the message we wish to share.

2. Collaboration and strength in numbers

Childhood cancer accounts for just 3% of all cancers, and retinoblastoma accounts for only 3% of childhood cancers.  Due to those small numbers in the wider context of cancer, childhood cancer, and retinoblastoma especially, struggles already to gain attention and support.

No other subset of childhood cancer uses a different colored ribbon.  Furthermore, international efforts are ongoing to have September and the gold ribbon officially endorsed by the World Health Organization.  WHO support of the red ribbon / December 1st World AIDS Day and pink ribbon / October Breast Cancer Month has been a major factor in success of these campaigns.

By promoting a white ribbon, we further isolate our retinoblastoma community from the collective childhood cancer world, and hinder progress in change-making recognition of children’s cancers.

Collaboration is a core value of World Eye Cancer Hope.  We encourage collaboration to broaden understanding, increase knowledge, advance evidence based care, and build sustainable solutions to the challenges families face today.  We seek to work in partnership with all parents, survivors, medical professionals, researchers, organisations, institutions, donors and others who share our goal of improving care for children with retinoblastoma and their families worldwide.

Promoting a white ribbon goes against this mission.  To achieve best possible care, we believe our Rb community must work together within the wider childhood cancer arena.  We will be stronger with a collective voice and a much larger community surrounding us with a shared mission of high quality care for every child.

3. Practicalities / Finances

By being part of the wider childhood cancer gold ribbon campaign, we reduce the costs of our campaign.  For example, in the UK, an umbrella charity buys gold ribbons in bulk, selling them to its member organizations across the country.  The cost is lower than would be for the individual member group making its own small purchase.

A white ribbon will appeal uniquely to the retinoblastoma community, while gold ribbon merchandise offered by the retinoblastoma community will appeal to the wider childhood cancer community.  Thus we have potential to generate more funds and also increase awareness of retinoblastoma within the childhood cancer community.  Just all pink ribbons strengthen each breast cancer cause, so each gold ribbon can strengthen our own cause by working toether and being part of the united voice.

Together, Everyone Achieves More!

We beMetal Gold Ribbon Lapel Pin.lieve fully in the power of a team effort.  So to promote change-making recognition, collaboration and maximum fundraising potential, World Eye Cancer Hope fully endorses the gold ribbon as the sole unifying symbol of childhood cancer, including retinoblastoma.

We hope all our supporters will agree with our reasons for this endorsement.  To our supporters who currently promote a white ribbon, we ask you to please carefully consider this, and join us under the banner of the gold ribbon.

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