ATCHISON, Kan. -- Cancer research advocates have a new color in mind -- gold. The medical community is designating that shade as the official color of pediatric cancer awareness.
One patient in remission from Atchison is taking it a step further.
Two challenging years have come and gone, and 12-year-old Donald Helton III is thankful to be alive. He says it's now time to give back. Helton and his family say they're working with the city of Atchison to turn Independence Park into a Friday night carnival for kids.
Helton is in remission, and winning his battle against a form of leukemia. All proceeds from that carnival will go to help researchers seeking a cure for childhood cancers.
Helton's life is getting back to normal, after countless doctor visits, and seeing his quality of life ruined.
"Sometimes, when you walk, your legs, they can burn because of the chemo," Helton remembered. "It gives you a lot of headaches sometimes."
"It makes you really nauseated. Sometimes, you don't want to eat."
But now, Helton is turning his misery into a mission of mercy for others.
Becky Anderson, an assistant city manager in Atchison, says lights on the Amelia Earhart Bridge will glow in gold, which is the official color of childhood cancer awareness.
The Heltons will hold a small carnival in the park below, with proceeds going toward finding a cure.
"The kids are getting excited because it's something special," Laura Helton, Donald's mother, said. "When they see anyone going gold, that makes them feel good."
"Forty-six children are diagnosed every day and out of the 46, seven pass away and lose their battle."
Donald Helton hopes other children fighting cancer will attend the carnival, and enjoy a day of getting pain off their minds.
"It can be beaten," Helton said. "You just gotta stay strong, and you'll get through it and beat it."
The Heltons say they hope to raise three thousand dollars for pediatric cancer research, and they'll give it all to Children's Mercy Hospital. Donald Helton says without their help, he might not be alive. Statistics show less than four percent of money raised for cancer research goes toward childhood cancer. A spokesperson for the hospital tells FOX 4 News that facility is also planning activities to observe pediatric cancer awareness month.
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