Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge supports Times Square going gold for cancer

September 21, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden (left) and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (second from right) attended the Times Square Go Gold lighting. They were joined by the Kabel family of Bay Ridge; dad Matthew (holding daughter Sally), mom Nicole and son William. Photo courtesy of Malliotakis’s office

Cancer advocates and elected officials from Bay Ridge came to Times Square as the Crossroads of the World turned into a golden paradise to raise cancer awareness.

Matthew and Nicole Kabel, whose little daughter Sally is a cancer survivor, were on hand to cheer as the iconic digital screens of Times Square were simultaneously illuminated in gold for an hour between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Sept. 17 as part of the Go Gold campaign.

The Go Gold campaign is an effort designed to raise awareness of the need for more funds for research into cures and treatment of childhood cancers, according to advocates. The event is timed to coincide with National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The Times Square lighting, which was organized by the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC), also attracted Bay Ridge lawmakers like state Sen. Marty Golden, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and Councilmember Vincent Gentile.

“Changing ‘The Great White Way’ into a shade of gold is a way for brave families and dedicated advocates to bring awareness to childhood cancer,” Malliotakis said. “It is my hope that this movement will bring further awareness to this horrible disease, the struggles these young children and their families face, and help raise the resources necessary to discover a cure, once and for all.”

TSAC leaders and elected officials were joined by families affected by pediatric cancer and pediatric cancer survivors, some of whom flew in from out of town to support the event. 

“Educating the community on childhood cancer is an important step to finding cures for cancers that are affecting our children,” Gentile said.

Representatives from Party City, the chain of party supply stores, presented a $401,000 donation to the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Paul Meyers, vice chairman of the Dept. of Pediatrics, accepted the donation. The Party City folks also handed out gold beads, boas and hats to help TSAC turn Times Square into a sea of gold.  

“The digital signs in Times Square are the most sought-after and recognized advertising space in the world. There is no better platform to spread a message about an important cause like pediatric cancer awareness,” TSAC President Fred Rosenberg said.

“It is important that we continue to remind people throughout the world that each day too many children and their families are fighting this devastating disease,” Golden said. “I’ve heard so many inspiring stories of strength, courage and compassion exhibited by these heroic children. Therefore, we must continue to fight for funding so that a cure can be found and every one of these children has a chance for a happy, health and long life.”

The event was meaningful to the families of kids with cancer, according to Enza Boccuzzi, president and founder of the Olivia Boccuzzi Foundation. The nonprofit organization is named in memory of her daughter, Olivia, who died of brain cancer at the age of two.

“As a mother of a two-yea- old daughter that lost her life to brain cancer, this is a very meaningful evening to me and many other parents who share my grief. The awareness this will bring cannot be measured, and on behalf of my daughter Olivia and all the children, we are very grateful to the Times Square Advertising Coalition,” Boccuzzi said.