Childhood cancer awareness month reminds people that cancer affects everyone, patients and families

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HOMEWOOD, Ala (WIAT) — aTeam Ministries is a local non-profit that helps families dealing with pediatric cancer.

Every September, aTeam does a big push for childhood cancer awareness month. This year, they had a T-shirt drive, and all the money is going towards aTeam’s mission on helping families financially and organizing events for families affected by childhood cancer.

Andy Thrower, the co-founder of aTeam Ministries said he and his wife started the nonprofit after their son was diagnosed with leukemia. Ten years later, their son is cancer-free.

“It’s rewarding to see what we do something for over 450 families but at the same time, there’s mixed emotions because you know they’re going through a journey they didn’t choose, they didn’t want. It’s hard, so we’re thankful we can do something but we’re also kind of hurting with them too,” said Thrower.

For Madison Murphy, her son Cole was diagnosed with leukemia in March and is still fighting the disease. She said she didn’t know what “Go Gold” really meant until the news of Cole’s cancer.

“It’s hard to do normal things knowing he could get sick, germs, or stuff like that, so as a mom its hard to just predict when he gets sick. I can’t predict his days and tell if he’s going to have a good day or bad or if he’s going to wake up in a good mood or bad mood because some days affect him more than others,” said Murphy.

Madison said her family has grown closer since Cole’s diagnosis and the support from friends and family has been uplifting.

Melissa Simmons has been a part of the aTeam Ministries family for years, ever since her son Walker was diagnosed with leukemia.

Melissa said Walker has been cancer-free for years now, but they still go back to Children’s of Alabama every few months to make sure he is still healthy.

“I think people have seen commercials and think they know kids get cancer but don’t understand what that means. It’s not just small adults getting cancer. It’s a whole other world and it impacts families in such a way and they need a certain level of treatment. The families need people to come along side them, so ‘Go Gold’ means let’s make people aware not just kids get cancer but support people going through this,” said Simmons.

Melissa said her son’s school, Vestavia Hills Elementary School West, is wearing yellow ribbon buttons on Friday in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day. She said she knows it will mean a lot to her son.

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