Gold Network of East Texas kicks off childhood cancer awareness month

“Cancer is real and it’s here in East Texas.”
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Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 11:36 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The downtown Tyler square turned gold Tuesday night as the Gold Network of East Texas hosted its annual childhood cancer awareness event.

The organization shined a light on those children as they walked across a gold carpet, being the heroes that they are. The organization serves kids who are currently on treatment or who have completed treatment, as well as families who have lost a child to cancer. Founder and director Heather Rucker started this group back in 2016 when her son was diagnosed with cancer.

“My son was diagnosed with infantile acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was seven months old,” says Rucker.

Rucker’s son would get treatment at a Dallas hospital, where she then met other East Texas families who are going through the same thing. They realized there were no support organizations in the East Texas area.

Rucker says, “I connected with two other cancer moms from Tyler, and we just made it a mission that none of these families were going to walk through it alone, and so to connect these families to one another, for you to find somebody else who speaks the language of cancer and understands what you’re going through, it’s a game changer.”

The Gold Network has touched the lives of those kids, just like 19-year-old Jayla Glenn who traveled all the way from Sulphur Springs for this event. She was diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer at age 12, but this group has given her a community to lean on.

“They have been amazing through my whole cancer journey, and since we’ve known them, they go above and beyond. I have doctors appointments from daylight until dark and I got home and they Door Dash us food. I mean, just amazing things they do for everybody.” says Glenn.

Rucker says it’s important for the community to be aware in order to help be a voice for those kids who don’t have a voice.

“So that’s why we’re here. And we’re not going anywhere until there’s a cure for all types of childhood cancer,” she said.

You can do your part by wearing gold during the month of September. You can also donate to the organization on their website to help those children and their families fight the fight. The Gold Network of East Texas is a volunteer organization, so all funds go directly to the families.

The event was also their big kick off leading up to their annual 5k Fun Run. That event will be at Bergfeld Park on September 24.