Mom wants to see courthouse in gold for cancer awareness

Gleaming gold lights could be adorning the Washington County Courthouse this September if one determined area mother gets her wish.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, represented by a gold ribbon. However, the month is often overshadowed by the juggernaut that is October and all its pink breast cancer awareness accoutrement.

“What they’ve been able to do with the breast cancer cause is fantastic. Unfortunately for our kids though, that pink ribbon sort of gets thrown into our month too,” said Desni Crock, 40, of Marietta.

Crock’s daughter Bridget, who celebrated her 7th birthday Thursday, is a cancer survivor. Her younger daughter, 4-year-old Anna, was also at an increased risk for Bridget’s type of cancer-pleuropulmonary blastoma-but got good news in April when doctors said she no longer needed to be scanned for the disease.

Bridget is half the namesake of BrAva, a local organization dedicated to spreading awareness and raising funds for childhood cancer research and local families touched by the disease.

BrAva’s other half, 6-year-old Ava Nichols, of Waterford, passed away in March 2012 after a two-year battle with cancer.

“Cancer is the No.1 childhood killer in the United States, yet only 2 percent of all cancer research funds go to childhood cancer,” said Crock.

Getting the same level of awareness for childhood cancer as is given to breast cancer has been a long-term campaign for Crock and many others touched by the disease.

In the past, she has started a letter writing campaign trying to get cereal manufacturers to print the gold ribbon on boxes during September.

“I have another friend who is trying to get the NFL to wear the gold ribbon in September like they do with pink in October,” she said.

The gold light project would have to be greenlit by the Washington County Commissioners, said commissioner David White.

“We’ve approved putting signs and flags out for certain things. The United Way puts their (fundraising) thermometer on the lawn. To my knowledge no one has ever lit up the place, so that would be a new twist,” he said.

In fact, groups did use the courthouse’s floodlights to project purple onto the building in October 2011 as part of a domestic violence awareness campaign.

EVE, Inc., which provides shelter, transitional housing, counseling and more for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, has been using the courthouse as a backdrop for domestic violence awareness projects for years, said EVE co-executive director Annelle Edwards.

“We just put purple filters over the floodlights. It was pretty easy actually,” she said.

EVE has experienced a lot of success using the courthouse as a backdrop for its domestic violence awareness campaign, said Edwards.

“It gives us a good awareness. It gets people talking,” she said.

That is exactly what Crock is hoping for with the gold project.

“The courthouse is sort of the centerpiece of town. We just want to remind everybody that we’ve got lots of kids who need support, love and funding for cancer research,” she said.

The gold courthouse would be a new way to get out the childhood cancer message, but BrAva has long participated in other September awareness events.

The group has a float in the annual Washington County Fair Parade, and its largest yearly fundraiser-a 5K race-takes place in September.

This year’s race will be the third annual, and will take place Sept. 21 at Masonic Park in Devola, said Crock.

Race participants pay a $25 registration fee. The event also consists of a family fun day and a country store

“So far in the first two years we’ve raised over $20,000,” Crock said of the race. “Fortunately the kids in our community who struggle with this disease have a lot of supporters.”

Those interested in participating in this year’s race can register at www.bravafight.com. BrAva is also looking for item donations for the country store. For more information or to donate, contact Crock at 374-2154 or 525-9958.