Embroiled in a controversy over their refusal to ‘Go Gold‘ for one night to raise awareness of children’s cancer, the Empire State Building has revealed their true priorities – they’re lighting up “blue and light blue in honor of the Democratic National Convention Site Selection Committee visit.” Having the DNC hosted in New York would be an economic boon to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The request that the group owning the building honor pediatric cancer victims was first brought to our attention a few days ago.
Little Cole Stoddard told his dad, Tony, something that will probably tear your heart to pieces like it did his dad. The 5-year-old said “I’m not going to grow up to do anything.” Not long after, Cole died from a vicious form of brain cancer.
Stoddard put in a formal request with the Empire State Building asking to go gold for one night to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research.
But, the Empire State Building said no, simultaneously crushing Tony’s promise to son that his life would mean something. Other young cancer patient parents are now rallying around the Stoddards.
Other parents began posting pictures of their loved ones on the Empire State Building Facebook page, only to have those posts and pictures deleted by the group running the page.
Social media started getting involved, and an #empiregogold hashtag was created. A petition was also generated to try and pressure the group to ‘Go Gold’ for one night. New York State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin got involved, tweeting this:
— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) August 10, 2014
As did child-actor, Luke Donaldson, who appears in season four of The Walking Dead.
Yesterday evening, the Huffington Post brought it national with a report on the controversy:
Over the past several years, numerous pediatric cancer advocates have requested that the Empire State Building be lit gold in September, for Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
After several attempts filling out the Lighting Partnership application, childhood cancer awareness has been denied yet again.
And advocates, families, survivors, concerned citizens and bereaved parents will not go quietly. Despite applications, emails and petitions, the Empire State Building refuses to channel the power of their glow into awareness for pediatric cancer.
That’s right, despite multiple pleas from parents who have lost their children, or who do battle with their children against the heartache and suffering of pediatric cancer on a daily basis, despite social media pleas from lawmakers, despite national media attention, and despite a petition which has already garnered thousands of signatures – the Empire State Realty Trust still will not ‘Go Gold.’
And in the midst of all of this, the Empire State Building announced what matters most to them – money – when they posted on their Facebook page that they would light the Manhattan skyline for two nights to honor… Democrats. Why? If New York is chosen as the site to host the Democratic National Convention, the city expects to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
The group’s initial refusal of the “Go Gold” request seemed to be for legitimate reasons. They claimed “we get more requests than there are days of the year.”
The lighting schedule however, posted to their website, shows that there were only two days scheduled in August prior to the DNC announcement – August 7th to honor military veterans, and August 15th to honor India Day.
Additionally, the August 11th and 12th dates for the DNC were just added within the last couple of days. Meaning that, while thousands of parents on Twitter, Facebook, signing petitions, and talking to the local media, were pleading with the Empire State Building to raise children’s cancer awareness, through all of that outrage, the group somehow managed to squeeze in a political convention on their calendar.
Luanne Rasmussen, whose son has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) recently, explains what a simple gesture like lighting the building can generate.
My youngest son Christian was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) last September. He has been through a lot in the past year and has at least another 2 years of treatment to go.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and it is symbolized by a gold ribbon. I hope someday there will be as much gold in September as there is pink in October. I would like to ask the Empire State Building to be lit one day in September to help raise awareness.
Currently childhood cancer research funding accounts for less than 4% of all cancer research funding allotted by the federal government. Childhood cancer kills more children than any other disease and 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer will not survive. About 65% of childhood cancer patients will have long lasting chronic conditions (called late-effects) from the very treatment that helped save their lives such as heart failure, infertility, cognitive impairment and secondary cancers.
Rasmussen also thanked the Empire State Building for their consideration, and tweeted out this photo:
Aside from lighting up for the DNC, the building has been willing to honor some odd, if not mundane, things.
Lights have bathed the Manhattan building for the Westminster Dog Show, Rutgers University football, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – they even executed a synchronized light show with artist Alicia Keys in 2012.
All of the above were granted one night of awareness by the Empire State Building. Why not for this cause?
Rainesford Alexandra of the Huffington Post asks the important questions:
Do these children really not deserve awareness? Or funding? Or a cure for a disease that is, at best, horrifying? Do they not deserve a day of gold, the color of childhood cancer awareness?
If you’d like to get the Empire State Realty Trust’s attention, please click here and sign the petition.