Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) – The pain that cancer brings is difficult for anyone suffering from it—no matter how old they are.
But while adult patients have some life experience to help them through, children who face it are still growing and learning about the world.
That’s why September is their own special month—to let them know they have support as they courageously fight a battle beyond their years.
Here in the Ohio Valley, many people are aware of just how sudden and devastating childhood cancer can be.
You just never know what’s going to happen with you and your family down the road.Dave Rotriga, Owner, Miklas Meat Market
Dave Rotriga is the uncle of Hines Rotriga, who battled neuroblastoma as a toddler.
As the owner of Miklas Meat Market, he’s making sure to let everyone know about what his nephew and other kids just like him went through.
He’s hung gold ribbons in the window, and everyone working in his store wears gold shirts each Saturday.
Just to bring awareness to everybody coming in the store.Dave Rotriga, Owner, Miklas Meat Market
Rotriga sees it as a way to pay forward the kindness the community freely gave to his family.
To help anybody, that’s what you’re supposed to do for the community. They’ve been so well at helping us with Hines, we just try to give back. We’re a little store, but we try as much as we can to do something in a big way.Dave Rotriga, Owner, Miklas Meat Market
And Miklas isn’t alone in their campaign.
Hines attends St. Michael’s Parish School, which has seen more than one student emerge victorious from fighting cancer.
For several years now, students have worn gold or purple in September, which Principal Kim Burge says was especially significant in 2020.
The day that we wore the shirts, we found out our third student was diagnosed with cancer.Kim Burge, Principal, St. Michael Parish School
She says while her kids are used to wearing uniforms, they’ve been more than happy to rally around their fellow classmates.
We try to make sure that the students understand that we are praying for them every day, and to raise awareness for other causes beyond themselves.Kim Burge, Principal, St. Michael Parish School
Going gold does more than just helping survivors on their journey.
St. Jude’s says that increased research has pushed the survival rate of childhood cancer from 20 percent up to more than 80 percent.
And with all the support in Wheeling alone, the hope is that number won’t stop going up.