James knows the struggle kids and their families face when they’re battling cancer.
Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in 2008, he spent the next 3 ½ years in treatment, first at the hospital’s Akron campus and then at our Beeghly campus in Boardman.
“The cancer diagnosis came as a complete shock,” said James’ mother, Vicki Dimuccio. “For our family, life was good. We were enjoying the go here, run here, do this, do that. When he was diagnosed, I was exposed to a new world, a world where there are families that can’t go, do and run.”
James is telling his story and encouraging his classmates to purchase special gold shoelaces as part of “Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer” during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September.
Each pair of laces costs $5, with 100 percent of the profits supporting Akron Children’s childhood cancer and blood disorders program.
Now a healthy 16-year-old junior at Neshannock High School near New Castle, Pa., James enjoys playing baseball. Grateful for remission, every follow-up test keeps the experience ever-present and has made him want to give back to the hospital and the other kids facing cancer.
“I want to spread the word and explain how cancer has affected me and everyone around me to raise awareness,” James said. “I’ve been working with just my own school, but it would be great to get all the county schools involved.”
Akron Children’s has teamed up with an organization called Go4TheGoal to administer this program.
There are a variety of ways kids and their schools can get involved. In addition to entire teams purchasing laces, a school can designate a particular game to “Lace Up.” Go4TheGoal will send laces to sell to students and spectators along with supportive materials such as banners, donation canisters and balloons to promote the event. There is no upfront cost to the school or team.
Following the game, the team sends all donations back to Go4TheGoal to cover the retail cost of the laces and the remainder will be sent to Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.
Last year, nearly 5,000 young people throughout northeast Ohio laced up and raised $25,000.
If you’re interested in participating or starting an event in your community, contact Nate Mulberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-979-8384.