Go Gold in September to let childhood cancer patients know they aren’t alone

Wheeling, W.Va (WTRF) – The pain of cancer is difficult for anyone who suffers from it, no matter how old they are.

But while adult patients have some life experience to help them through it, children who face it are still growing and learning about the world.

That’s why September is their own special month – letting them know they have support as they bravely fight a battle beyond their age.

Here in the Ohio Valley, many people know how sudden and devastating childhood cancer can be.

You just never know what’s going to happen to you and your family down the road.

Dave Rotriga, Owner, Miklas Meat Market

Dave Rotriga is the uncle of Hines Rotriga, who battled neuroblastoma as a toddler.

As owner of Miklas Meat Market, he makes sure everyone knows what his cousin and other kids like him have been through.

He has hung gold ribbons in front of the window and everyone who works in his shop wears gold shirts every Saturday.

Just to bring attention to everyone who comes into the store.

Dave Rotriga, Owner, Miklas Meat Market

Rotriga sees it as a way to reward the kindness that the community has voluntarily bestowed on his family.

To help someone, that’s what you should do for the community. They’ve been so good at helping us with Hines, we’re just trying to give back. We are a small store, but we do our best to do something big.

Dave Rotriga, Owner, Miklas Meat Market

And Miklas is not alone in their campaign.

Hines attends St. Michael’s Parish School, where more than one student has emerged victorious from the battle against cancer.

For several years now, students have been wearing gold or purple in September, which, according to director Kim Burge, was especially important in 2020.

The day we wore the shirts, we discovered that our third student had cancer.

Kim Burge, Principal, St. Michael Parish School

She says that while her children are used to wearing uniforms, they are only too happy to join their classmates.

We try to make the students understand that we pray for them every day, and to raise awareness for other causes outside of themselves.

Kim Burge, Principal, St. Michael Parish School

Going gold does more than just help survivors on their journey.

St. Jude’s says more research has boosted childhood cancer survival rates from 20 percent to more than 80 percent.

And with all the support in Wheeling alone, the hope is that that number will not continue to rise.

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