By: Jamie Berman, Senior Account Executive
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity for society to recognize the families affected by childhood cancer and the researchers, doctors, hospitals working fervently to treat them. But, more importantly, September is an opportunity for companies to take a stand and potentially save lives by supporting research into better cures and treatments.
When it comes to pediatric cancer, the numbers are worrisome: it’s the leading cause of death by disease in American children younger than 15, and more than 10,000 children will be diagnosed in 2017 – nearly 1,200 of whom are expected to pass away. Despite these sobering statistics, less than four percent of the federal government’s total annual funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers.
So, it becomes the responsibility of companies to step in, and there are many great examples of socially-motivated organizations taking a stand against childhood cancer this September:
- Hyundai: The car manufacturer’s Hope on Wheels program launched in 1998 and focuses on funding research to improve cures and treatments; by the end of 2017, it will have donated a total of $130 million to research institutes nationwide. This September, consumers can visit the Hope on Wheels site and leave a message on the “Handprint of Hope,” with each message triggering a $1 donation to cancer research, up to $10,000. The company is also awarding 40 research grants this month, totaling $8.5 million.
- Northwestern Mutual*: The insurance company launched its Childhood Cancer Program in 2012 to accelerate the search for better cures and treatments, as well as to improve family support methods. To date, the program has donated $15 million to fund more than 165,000 hours of research. Northwestern Mutual is commemorating September by piloting a virtual reality program to help children cope with inpatient treatment, and bringing widespread visibility to the cause in partnership with Upworthy to tell the stories of the families, children and researchers living with the realities of childhood cancer every day.
- Aflac: Aflac has contributed more than $118 million to fund childhood cancer research since 1995 – impressively, its independent agents donate more than $500,000 per month. This September, the company launched its new Childhood Cancer Campaign, which is designed to engage employees, agents and the public to increase awareness and spur volunteerism through social media, awards, merchandise purchases and event sponsorship.
Companies are well-poised to make a difference for the tens of thousands of kids and families affected by childhood cancer, and the disease remains rightfully top-of-mind for many CSR-minded organizations. We at Cone are looking forward to a day without childhood cancer, and companies empowered to make an impact are getting us one step closer.