Emily Good defies the image of a stereotypical “me generation” teen. Not one to shy away from pain or suffering, she pours herself into the middle of it so she can adequately describe to others what it’s like.
For Good, 17, childhood cancer is a monster she battles for those who are in its grip.
, Daniela Joel, to the disease. Just a month ago, she lost another best friend, Taylor Filorimo, to childhood cancer as well.
Rather than bemoan her loss, she took that hurt and turned it into action. She joined forces with an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Mike Gillette, the Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation and others to market and produce a film on childhood cancer.
The film, "Truth 365," was released on Oct. 8 (see video).
“The purpose of the film is to bring awareness of what cancer is really like, and how it affects people,” said Good, a junior at Brookwood High School in Snellville, Ga.
Four percent, or $195,529,112 out of $5,058,104,978, of federal money is dedicated to cancer research, according to the National Cancer Institute. On top of that, only one new drug has been approved for pediatric cancer since the 1960s, according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Good believes that the lack of progress in finding a cure for most childhood cancers is because "we don’t have any money."
That term – “we” – says a lot about Good’s frame of mind; she identifies with those struck by cancer. She spent September highlighting the stories of children who have or had cancer on Facebook and Twitter. An excerpt:
“Tonight it is really bothering me. Multiple kids are dying every single day because of cancer. How can you read about a child fighting for their life and not be affected by it? How do you continue to live your life the same way you did before, not raising awareness to stop childhood cancer? Childhood cancer isn't just smiles and bald heads, and people need to open their eyes to the reality of it. I saw my best friend get sick from treatments that were supposed to be saving her life. I saw my best friend go in and out of the hospital. I saw the reality of childhood cancer.
The reality of childhood cancer is that it is killing our kids and the fact that people are choosing to be so ignorant towards this disease is beyond comprehensible. Raising awareness takes one second and is as simple as saying "Go Gold." Share about childhood cancer in hopes that soon no other child will have to suffer from this awful disease.”
Each day, she posted the story of a child suffering with cancer. Among others, she shared the story of a little girl named Sterling Sky, who passed away on Sept. 27 from Embryonal Tumor with Abundant Neuropil and True Rosettes, a form of brain cancer.
"We will find a cure for Sterling and all of the other angels cancer took from us," she wrote.
On Day 7, she highlighted the story of Amanda Riley, a Brookwood High student who passed away in 2010 from Rhabdomysarcoma. Her mother, Barbara Riley, established the Amanda Riley Foundation in her honor. The foundation has been successful in raising funds for childhood cancer and recently surpassed their goal of $22,000.
"Truth 365" offers a grittier perspective on how childhood cancer affects the victim of this disease and their families. Their overall goal is to generate more funding for childhood cancer, which includes signing a petition calling for "an increase in pediatric cancer funding by the National Cancer Institute with the goal of eliminating cancer as a threat to all children."
So far, over 5,000 people have signed the petition. Sign the petition to let your voice be heard. If you would like to be more involved on a local level, contact the Amanda Riley Foundation.
(Editor's note: Emily Good has been selected as Huffington Post's Greatest Person of the Day. Congratulations Emily!)
For further reading:
- Walmart Neighborhood Market Donates to the Amanda Riley Foundation
- Brookwood Student Loses Best Friend to Childhood Cancer