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A Proclamation on National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, 2023

A Proclamation on National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, 2023

During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we honor the extraordinary courage, strength, and optimism of the tens of thousands of families now fighting the leading cause of death by disease for children:  cancer.  We remember the bright lives cut short and recommit to ending cancer as we know it, for all those we have lost and all those we can save.

Cancer is brutal no matter whom it strikes, but it is particularly cruel when it affects the youngest among us.  When they should be learning in school and playing outside, children with cancer are oftentimes fighting for their lives in hospitals instead.  A cancer diagnosis takes a tremendous toll on their family, friends, and community.  Caregivers are often left struggling to deal with a flood of medical information, to make sense of treatment options, and to navigate mounting medical bills all while trying to stay hopeful and steal moments of joy with their loved ones.

Over the past 50 years, cancer researchers have made major advances treating some types of pediatric cancer — but we have much more to do.  Last year, the First Lady and I reignited the Cancer Moonshot, setting an ambitious new goal to cut America’s overall cancer death rate by at least half over the next 25 years, turn more cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases, and improve support for patients and families.  As a first step, I worked with the Congress to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, securing $2.5 billion in bipartisan funding to develop breakthroughs in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer and other deadly diseases and pioneering partnerships to get those breakthroughs out to patients and clinics across the Nation.  We’re also making lifesaving health care more affordable for millions of American families, expanding health care coverage for families through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and helping millions of families save $800 per year on health insurance premiums.

At the same time, the National Cancer Institute has developed a National Cancer Plan to speed up the development of effective cancer treatments, including those for children.  The Institute’s Childhood Cancer Data Initiative is also providing free molecular testing of tumors, further helping my Administration implement the RACE for Children Act, to quickly identify and approve precision pediatric cancer drugs.  Earlier this year, I was also proud to sign the Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act, boosting funding for childhood cancer research, including research into late effects of childhood cancer treatment and new ways to care for survivors.  And as a part of the Cancer Moonshot, the National Cancer Institute launched the Childhood Cancer–Data Integration for Research, Education, Care, and Clinical Trials, a first-of-its-kind, public-private partnership that will help children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer and their families reach out for support, connect to excellent care, and obtain opportunities to participate in research.

During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we honor the absolute courage of the tens of thousands of children who fight cancer every day and all of the loved ones who support them.  And we recognize the medical professionals, researchers, companies, philanthropies, and academic institutions who search tirelessly for early detection methods, better and safer treatments and even cures. Together, we will create a cancer-free future for our kids.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2023 as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  I encourage citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, the media, and other interested groups to increase awareness of what Americans can do to support the fight against childhood cancer.  I encourage anyone experiencing uncertainty around risk factors or treatment options, or looking for other opportunities for support to connect with a trained specialist at 1-800-4-CANCER or visit

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                             JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Thank You Corporate Partners


The American Childhood Cancer Organization would like to thank our generous corporate partners who helped further our mission in 2023! Together we continued to “make childhood cancer a national child health priority through shaping policy, supporting research, raising awareness and providing educational resources and innovative programs to children with cancer, survivors, and their families.” Through these partnerships, ACCO has been able to impact the lives of tens of thousands of children with cancer on active treatment and their families across the U.S.

From corporate donations earmarked to specific ACCO programs, donating a percentage of sales and childhood cancer resources, to offering customers the opportunity to give, these corporations have strengthened their partnerships with ACCO during this unprecedented year.

Amazon has partnered with the American Childhood Cancer Organization for the past 6 years to expand much-needed childhood cancer research. Amazon’s support of ACCO’s “What About Kids® Research Initiative has resulted in ACCO securing more than $75 million in appropriations at the state level for childhood cancer research!

Amazon GOES GOLD® has led to their largest community engagement with employees around the world wearing their pajamas to work as a symbol of solidarity with children fighting cancer in their Pjs! Together, Amazon has raised awareness of childhood cancer across the U.S. and around the world through ACCO’s signature PJammin® events! CCO is working hard to train grassroots advocates, update state cancer plans to include childhood cancer language and objectives, and elevate state funding for childhood cancer in order to close the gap between budget allocations that go towards adult and childhood cancer research.

La Roche Posay, one of L’Oreal’s brands and recognized worldwide as the number one rated dermocosmetic product line, partnered with ACCO to enhance the quality of life of children with cancer. Based upon the design and impact of the pediatric pain scale, La Roche Posay + ACCO designed an Emoji scale tool to help children with cancer express their feelings. The toolkit allows the child, his/her family and the medical team explore the emotions associated with the treatment regimen and beyond. More than 5,000 children with cancer across the U.S. have received a free emoji toolkit as a result of the corporate partnership.

Since 2008, Jel Sert’s partnership with ACCO has helped children with cancer manage the physical and emotional pain associated with toxic cancer treatments. Jel Sert + ACCO donates freezers stocked with a continuous supply of Fla-Vor-Ice freezer pops to kids with cancer in clinics and hospitals nationwide to assist with maintaining fluids during times of chemo and radiation induced mouth sores. Jel Sert’s employees raise awareness and funds through an annual corporate PJammin event. Additionally, Jel Sert’s generous funding to ACCO provides tens of thousands of free educational resources to children with cancer and their families across the country. Jel Sert’s CEO’s personal commitment provides funding for nutritional support for children fighting cancer in ACCO-sponsored countries in Africa.

Servier Pharmaceuticals provides funding support  to continue to provide these essential educational resources without charge to children and adolescents with cancer. Servier also recognized the global childhood cancer survival disparity. As the producer of Peg-asparaginase, an essential chemotherapy required in the successful treatment of numerous types of childhood cancer, Servier addressed the medical needs of children with cancer in several low-middle income countries (LMICs). Together. Servier + ACCO provided nutritional support to children with cancer in Ethiopia, Uganda and Myanmar, recognizing that malnourished children with cancer have a significantly poorer cure rate. And in partnership with ACCO, Servier responded to the shortage of asparaginase in Beirut after the deadly explosion that took place there on August 4th.

Texas Materials Group, Inc reached out to ACCO in the beginning of 2023 to set up a PJammin® event to honor the memory of an employee that had recently passed away. In a matter of hours, the Texas-region employees had raised more than $12,000!

Texas Materials Group, Inc vowed to match donations and was successful in raising $26K!

The group asked ACCO where their money was needed the most and decided to allocate their funds to the medical play kit resource that ACCO provides to kids, free of charge. Following this extremely successful event, organizers at Texas Materials Group, Inc challenged their Louisiana branch, Barriere Construction to host their own PJammin® event!

Because of their successful event, ACO was able to purchase final components for our medical play kit and host a volunteer day at our headquarters in Maryland. Two employees from Texas Materials Group, Inc, flew to Maryland and attended our volunteer day where they helped make more than 1000 kits!

CRH is the leading provider of building materials and has market leadership in North America and Europe. As the main corporation, they employ branches throughout the United States including Texas Materials Group, Inc and Barriere Construction.

18Loop and TRIPP have joined forces with ACCO to launch the Virtual Comfort research program for children with cancer. In existing studies, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets have shown to reduce cognitive pain by 44 percent, emotional pain by 32 percent, and sensory pain by 27 percent. In a joint experimental intervention research study, 18Loop + ACCO have distributed more than 50 Oculus headsets to children on active cancer treatment.

At Amped Electric Games, we dare to dream big and inspire change through the electrifying world of personal electric vehicles.Driven by our unwavering values of abundance, community, giving, growth, leadership, inclusivity, and safety, we are united in our mission to elevate the sport, bring people together, and make a positive impact on the world.

Since 2022, Amped Electric Games has raised awareness and funds for kids with cancer at their races across the United States. Their first event promised big jumps, high flying thrills and an unparalleled time.  With more than $7,500 raised, Amped is committed to helping raise funds one race at a time.

Kendra Scott creates jewelry for every look and occasion, from simple & classic to bright & bold. Jewelry that makes you feel like your most confident self. Doing good has been built into Kendra Scott’s business model from the very beginning and they are committed to hosting Give Back events all over the United States. ACCO has worked with Kendra Scott for years and in 2023, they plan on expanding their program with us to include California, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Florida. From hosting color bar parties to showcasing ACCO’s curated collection of jewelry during a GO GOLD® event, ACCO and Kendra Scott events are here to stay.

Interested in becoming an ACCO corporate partner? Click here to learn more. 

Together, we can make a difference.

Donate today… because kids can’t fight cancer alone®.

How ACCO Helped Christina and Noah

During the most challenging time of our lives, when my son was bravely battling cancer, the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) became our beacon of hope, support, and understanding. From the moment we reached out to them, it was like finding a family we didn’t know we needed.

The ACCO extended their comforting hand to us in ways that went far beyond what we could have imagined. They offered not just information about treatments and medical options, but also a warm embrace of empathy that provided us with the emotional strength to carry on. Through their personalized guidance, we felt like we were never alone in this journey.

Their unwavering commitment to us was evident in the little things that made a big difference. They connected us with other families who had walked similar paths, allowing us to share stories, laughs, and tears. It was through these connections that we found a unique camaraderie and an unspoken understanding that only those who have experienced this could truly grasp.

But perhaps what stood out the most was the sense of unity that ACCO fostered. They organized events, workshops, and support groups that not only educated us but also gave us a safe space to express our fears and hopes. Their dedication to raising awareness about childhood cancer was evident, and they empowered us to become advocates for our child and others facing similar battles.

Through it all, the American Childhood Cancer Organization became more than just an organization; they became an integral part of our journey. They were the ones who reminded us that amidst the darkness of cancer, there is a community of love, compassion, and strength. They didn’t just help us navigate the medical complexities; they touched our hearts and lifted our spirits, reminding us that every moment, no matter how tough, was a moment worth fighting for.

In the midst of uncertainty, fear, and tears, ACCO brought a ray of light into our lives. They didn’t just help my son battle cancer; they helped our entire family weather the storm together. For that, we will forever be grateful.

Noah turned 7 years old on August 13, 2023. He was diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor on February 12, 2019 and is currently in remission. Christina spoke about Amped Electric Games in her video, an organization who hosts regular fundraisers for ACCO. Learn about Amped Electric Games here

Resister for resources here. Together, we can make a difference. Donate today, because kids can’t fight cancer alone!

We put the FUN in FUNdraising!

Not only is a PJammin® or GO GOLD® event fun, it also raises awareness for childhood cancer! Events can be held anywhere – from schools to the workplace, in person or virtual – anyone can join in. Become part of a movement and give back to kids with cancer and their families.

How do I get started?

  • Spread the word: Let friends and family know you are raising awareness for childhood cancer in the workplace, school or in your community! Share via email, social media, word of mouth, however you’d like! ACCO can help you by providing a flyer with custom QR codes for donors to donate!
  • Get Ready: You’ve got the swag, flyer and custom donation page, now get out there and fundraise! Need something else, let us know!

The most that anyone could hope to do for a child with cancer is to make their cancer go away. However, defeating cancer can take years or a lifetime, and too many children lose the battle. In the time between a first diagnosis and the first cancer-free day — if that day ever comes — these children are facing the most intense challenge of their lives. At ACCO, we support children on the front lines in the fight for their lives. They all deserve a cure.

Until that day comes, they will have our care.

Gold Ribbon Hero: Oakley

Meet Oakley, a 3 year old B-Cell ALL warrior.

Just after turning three years old, Oakley’s eyes started swelling and after three days, she started to develop a fever. Her mother took her to urgent care and the emergency room several times and was sent home with a stye in her eye and tonsillitis. Another doctor said it was allergies. After not getting a straight answer, Oakley’s mom pushed for more testing. When her doctor called in additional blood testing, her mom knew they had found something. “The next morning, I was called to rush her into the ER for what most likely is cancer – leukemia. Looking back, she started to get very lethargic, didn’t want to play outside, when normally I had to beg her to come inside. She also had a lot of bruising on her legs and a change in her skin tone.” 

After being rushed to the hospital, Oakley started receiving chemotherapy almost instantly. She is currently on the blintumomab clinical trial and has undergone two surgeries. 

“A big obstacle being faced is her age. Oakley was a very shy and timid girl who didn’t speak to anyone. She was terrified to go to the clinic and didn’t understand what was going on. Thankfully, she has come out of her shell thanks to the amazing nurses and staff that all adore her.” 

“Oakley is very headstrong, has always had a very good memory and has an amazing imagination. She can sit and play for hours making up her own games and stories with all her little figurines. Oakley’s also a very big outdoors enthusiast, she’s been hiking with us since she was 6 weeks old. Along with hiking she tags along off-roading on difficult trails, camping, and sometimes hunting since she was one years old.”

In 2023, Oakley was selected to represent ACCO as an ambassador and is found on ACCO’s GO GOLD® the RUN website. 

Learn more about ALL here.

Social Media Takeover: Brian Billeck

Q.  Were you aware of the childhood cancer world prior to your child’s diagnosis? Did you have any connection prior?

R. Not really.  Knew of it, sure.  Knew what they do….not really.  Knew just how devastating it can be for the kids and their families…..NOT AT ALL!

Q.  Tell us about the day your child was diagnosed. What events/issues led to your child’s diagnosis? How did you feel/react to the initial news?

R. There are moments in your life you can recall with great detail.  Maybe it was your marriage.  Maybe it is the birth of your child.  For me, I can recall the night I found out Damon had cancer as if it happened minutes ago.

That weekend, I was hunting with my oldest son Brandon.  While in the deer stand, my ex-wife Lisa sends me a picture of Damon’s arm (one of the twins).  She said she was in line with him at HEB and when she hugged him to say ‘I Love You,’ she felt a lump.  She took a picture and sent it to me.  She inquired as to what it could be.  I had no idea. 

She decided to go to Texas Med Clinic but did not arrive until around 10pm.  After an hour or so, the doctor sent them to The Pediatric Hospital for further tests.  Now it is past midnight.

They take tests, X-rays, etc. and all the while I’m pacing back and forth at Deer camp waiting for news.  I call constantly but no word.  Plus, they are sleeping waiting for answers.

At 3:26am I received a call from Lisa (Damon’s mom).  I asked what did they find out?  There was silence.  I asked again.  The silence turned to tears and at that moment, my heart sank.  I knew something was not right.

The doctor took the phone from Lisa and said (And yes, I can recall word for word what was said): “Mr. Billeck this is Damon’s Doctor…..there is no way to sugarcoat this.  Damon has a form of bone cancer and we need to deal with it immediately.  We are transferring him to the Children’s hospital via ambulance and he should be there within ten minutes.  I’m very sorry.”

Just like that, our lives were changed forever!!

Q. Did your child follow a COG protocol for treatment or did they follow a different protocol tailored to their situation?  Thoughts on their overall treatment experience? How did you feel watching your child go through treatment?

R. Damon followed the protocol for treating Osteosarcoma.  Sadly the methods of treatment of osteosarcoma over the past 30 years have not changed.   Part is due to awareness, other part due to funding.  They give the kids the same schedule of chemo and expect a different outcome each time.  Doesn’t happen. 

How do you know what is right and what is wrong.  When Damon was diagnosed, half the doctors said to amputate his arm right away, the other half said it wasn’t necessary and that Limb Salvage Surgery is just as viable.

We spoke to Damon and kept him informed at all times.  We NEVER hid anything from him, and never sugarcoated it either.  He knew what we knew when we knew it.  Yes, he was only 9 at the time, but the one thing you will be amazed is the rapid advancement of maturity in your diagnosed kid.

For the kids going through chemo it’s painful, very, very painful.  It’s equally as painful for the parents because we can do NOTHING.  We can lend support, say we love them, but in the end, they have to suffer and we have to simply watch.  Your heart will break daily!  There is no getting around that!

Q. Share with us obstacles and triumphs that you faced personally during your child’s cancer journey. How did it feel to be thrown into the childhood cancer arena?  We hear so many talk about joys and sorrows, triumphs and obstacles they faced throughout their journey – please share any of yours or your child’s.  Overall – how did your child’s journey shape yours and your families new normal?   

R. Trials & obstacles go hand in hand with cancer.  There will be days they are feeling great and days they are in great pain.  The journey is like riding a rollercoaster.  From the day your child is diagnosed the rollercoaster begins.  Here’s something they wont tell you.  Once you are on the rollercoaster… can never get off!

You will forever have highs and lows.  Even if they get to a stage of N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease), the coaster continues.  Because you still have to go back for 3 month check ups and experience what we can “Scan”xiety.  That Scanxiety NEVER gets easier.  Osteosarcoma can lay dormant for 10-20 years and show up again with a vengeance. 

The journey is not all bad though.  I will say the journey is what YOU make it!  You can cry about the fact your child has cancer or just say….Okay…my kid has cancer, let’s move on.  It’s up to you.

Pharrell Williams sent Damon a video that changed our lives and how we fought cancer.  You can look for it on YouTube. 

“The past you can’t change and the future you can only contemplate.  But the preset is something most people ignore.  The present is a gift, it’s malleable and it can be whatever you want it go be.  Think hard about that!

We chose to make the present HAPPY!  Damon had cancer, so why get mad, why get sad.  It will not change the fact that he has cancer.  Plus, we don’t know the future.  We don’t know if the surgery will be successful.  If the treatment will work, etc.  So why worry about it?!  But today, we can be happy.  We can do whatever we want and we did!

My suggestion is to be HAPPY and have fun.  Cancer can be fun if you let it.  You just have to open your eyes.

Q. What point is your journey at now?  What survivorship issues are you facing?  How do you handle the unknowns? 

R. Damon passed away at the age of 13 after five years of fighting.  He won his battle with cancer, but lost his life in the process.  That’s what heroes do….sacrifice themselves to save others. 

The last year of his life was spent going from one trial medication to another.  Never knowing if it would work or kill him.  One trial, after one day on the drug sent him into a 3 day coma.  Damon’s response after waking was “Guess that one doesn’t work!”  LOL….  Another trial caused his skin to change color.  I said he looked like a Minion.  He knew the danger, but didn’t care.  Because he also knew every failure would help point them in the right direction.  How many adults would be willing to do the same?!

So now we deal with the fact our son | brother & twin is gone.  If any person ever tells you it gets easier as the years pass, they are lying!  It NEVER gets easier.  NEVER!!

If a person loses their spouse…they are a widower
If a person loses their parents…they are an orphan
If a person loses their child…..there is no term for that!  Painful…is the term. 

But…doesn’t mean every day is rocky.  As we said before…we chose to live Happy and that still applies.  Damon was one hell of a kid.  He changed the world and inspired others!  He did more in his 13 years of life than I feel I have in my 52.  But I’m thankful I had him.  I don’t curse his death…..I celebrate his life!

Damon was a Honorary San Antonio Fireman.  He was a Brand Manager.  He was a leader, and innovator and a true inspiration for many!

He had a quote that he loved:
Strength isn’t measured by how much one can lift.
Strength is measured by how much one can lift others.

By those standards, he was one STRONG kid!!!!

Follow Brian on Twitter or Instagram @happy2badad or on Facebook at @BBilleck

Read Damon’s original Gold Ribbon Hero story here:

You can take action in your own state by learning more here.

Learn more about the types of sarcomas and read more stories here during our Sarcoma Awareness Month feature.

Planting Hope with the Billeck Family

Ten acres of sunflowers bloomed this summer at Traders Village in San Antonio. The golden display was planted by Brian Billeck in honor of children battling cancer, especially his son, Damon. Sunflowers are a symbol of osteosarcoma, the disease that Damon battled. He passed away in 2018. 

In June, the sunflower field hosted the Firefly Moms, a group of women who lost children to cancer, including Damon’s mother, Lisa. They brought photos of their children so that they could take pictures together.

Damon’s sunny attitude was infectious. “I can do this all day!” was his regular battle cry. His story and open letter to cancer both appear here

Gold Ribbon Hero: Archer

Meet Archer, a 2 year old stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma warrior. At 21 months old, Archer stopped walking suddenly and was taken to the emergency room. The MRI revealed a large mass on his spine that was compressing his spinal cord. He immediately had surgery to remove the mass and had further testing to see if there were any more tumors. Since then, he’s undergone six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, bone marrow transplants and radiation.

Elizabeth Turner Appointed New Chair of KY Pediatric Cancer Research Fund

ACCO is proud to announce that our Regional Advocacy Coordinator, Elizabeth Turner, has been voted as the new Chair of the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund. 

Elizabeth Turner was thrust into the childhood cancer community when her son, David Jr. was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). After David Jr. was diagnosed, Elizabeth and David were on a mission to raise awareness and make every day the best day ever. In 2021, David Jr. passed away from DIPG at the age of 9 years old. 

Throughout her career, Elizabeth has focused on health and wellness and has successfully developed community relationships to engage childhood cancer families with stories similar to hers. She was appointed to the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund by Governor Beshear in June 2021. She leads a team of members as the Awareness Committee Chair planning events, leading awareness campaigns, and advocating for all families impacted by cancer. Elizabeth also serves as a committee member for the Norton Patient and Family Advisory Council focusing on positively impacting the patient experience.

Background on the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund: 

In 2015, the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund was established by Senate Bill 82. $2.5 million was allocated for each year of the biennium as part of the 2018 budget bill. The fund aims to make childhood cancer a state health priority by giving all Kentucky children access to cutting-edge cancer research, treatments with less toxicity, and encouraging psychosocial support with a targeted focus on the complicated issues of long-term survivorship.

Since Kentucky’s children are diagnosed with these tumors at a disproportionately higher rate than other states, prioritization of this research warrants continued expansion and Kentucky leadership has taken notice. 

States have a critical role to play in overcoming the national disparity between adult and childhood cancer research, treatment, and support. YOU can join the movement to make meaningful change by engaging policy makers at the local and state level. Take action by clicking here

Gold Ribbon Hero: Adley

Meet Adley, a B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia warrior. 

Two weeks before Adley’s second birthday, Adley’s father noticed she was lethargic, pale and wanted to be constantly carried. Adley’s parents scheduled her two year appointment early so that they could get lab work done. The pediatrician called and advised Adley and her parents to make their way to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital where a room was waiting for them. 

“No parent should ever have to hear that your child has cancer. This day was by far the hardest of them all. The information, multiple doctors and worry was the worst,” remembers Chad, Adley’s father. 

Adley has undergone more than 10 spinal taps, two bone marrow biopsies and a port placement surgery. She continues to have spinal taps every three months until May 2024. 

Currently, Adley is on long term maintenance with an end of treatment date set for May 16, 2024. 

In 2023, Adley was selected to represent ACCO as an ambassador for the year and is found on ACCO’s GO GOLD® the RUN website. 

Learn more about ALL here.