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Surviving Cancer: Witnessing to the truth and raising awareness for CureFest

Vara+Gordon+and+Lily+Weaver+speak+at+CureFest+DC+2016.+
Vara Gordon and Lily Weaver speak at CureFest DC 2016.

Vara Gordon and Lily Weaver speak at CureFest DC 2016.

Mike Gillet

Mike Gillet

Vara Gordon and Lily Weaver speak at CureFest DC 2016.

by Lily Weaver, Reporter

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The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/4i1ix

CureFest is an annual event for childhood cancer. It’s held in September, childhood cancer awareness month, and takes place on the Mall in Washington, D.C. CureFest brings together supporters here to demand more funding for childhood cancer. The goal for Curefest is to unify the childhood cancer community and raise awareness. This whole event is put together by The Truth 365, a non-profit that creates awareness about childhood cancers.  

(The event was amazing, but, exciting side note, I have been asked to be a spokesperson for Truth 365!)

Curefest had the first national sponsor, Aflac, an insurance company, that pledged to donate $2.00 (up to $1.5 million) every time someone uses the hashtag #DUCKPRINTS on social media. 

This year cancer survivors Gabi Shull and Melinda Marchiano were the hosts of the candle light vigil held next to the White House.

During the vigil there were over 900 attendees, including many friends and family. There were many people speaking about their journey or someone else’s journeys, including me.

A month before Curefest, I was asked to speak during the vigil. I went to an interview with a 9-year-old girl named Vara, who at the time was battling Willms (Kidney) cancer. She knew I was speaking at Curefest and asked if I was nervous. I told her “Yes.”  Then decided I to ask if she wanted to speak with me. She jumped with excitement.

On the day of the event, Vara and I took pictures with other survivors and advocates. Vara met a cancer survivor, Melissa, who had the same cancer as she and who had the same removal surgery.

We met so many amazing advocates and survivors including, Kassiana, Gabi, Melissa, Melinda, and Parker.

Gabi Shull, cancer survivor, was one of the first speakers and performers. She had osteosarcoma in her lower right leg. The surgery to remove the cancer (and her leg) is called rotationplasty. She has danced since she was little, and with her prostheses, is still able to dance today.  

When it was my turn, I explained my cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma, and how unfair it is that childhood cancer only gets 4% of national research funding.

Vara spoke next and explained her treatment and cancer. She also made the audience relax by telling a joke about her kidneys. “How many kidneys do I have?” She pointed to her stomach and counted “one,” then pointed to her knees and said, “Three kid-knees.”

During Kassiana’s speech, she invited all the cancer fighters, survivors, and siblings up to the front for a picture.

At the end of the vigil supporters were singing “Amazing Grace” in front of the White House.

In my next article, I hope to explore the 4% funding and encourage all of you to consider that this area of research needs more funding. You can donate to help improve the statistics for childhood cancer research funding here!

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1 Comment

One Response to “Surviving Cancer: Witnessing to the truth and raising awareness for CureFest”

  1. Ellen Loop on October 24th, 2016 5:30 pm

    Please cure childhood cancer. So proud of you Lily Weaver. #DUCKPRINTS

    [Reply]

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Surviving Cancer: Witnessing to the truth and raising awareness for CureFest