At only 12 years old, Cole Eicher, suffering from a brain tumor, decided to make a move. This movement is now Gold Together and is nationally recognized with over $1 million raised for pediatric cancer research and support programs.
Teen magazine had the chance to speak virtually with Ms. Laura Eicher about all things #GoldTogether – their story, mission and how you can get involved. This includes how you can volunteer as Ms. Eicher told me on our zoom call: “It’s good to see how when you volunteer you can find people like you.”
See this post on Instagram
“When I was on the cancer floor and walked past all the rooms full of children, I saw that they were often too small or too sick to talk and help others. I knew then that I needed to speak up for them and for other kids battling cancer. Even healthy kids like me can get sick. We need gentler treatments and more cures.”
The creation of the campaign
How was #GoldTogether created?
Gold Together for Childhood Cancer was founded by Cole Eicher who, at age 12, was diagnosed with brain cancer. He saw on his oncology floor how small children who were battling cancer were and felt like he could be a voice for them.
During his cancer treatment, he shared his story in a variety of ways to educate and raise awareness. He believed that if people knew how much the children needed support, they would get involved.
Cole had participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life the year before his cancer diagnosis and enjoyed the experience. He decided to ask all his followers to join him in celebrating the end of his treatment and to celebrate all the other survivors.
In 2014, he created the first #GoldTogether for the childhood cancer team at his local Relay For Life event. His goal was to create a model that could be replicated in communities across the country to support families dealing with childhood cancer.
What is #GoldTogether’s mission?
Gold Together is a childhood cancer initiative of the American Cancer Society that aims to increase awareness of childhood cancer, support families dealing with childhood cancer, and raise funds to support childhood cancer.
All funds raised through Gold Together directly support childhood cancer research, education, advocacy and services.
On public awareness
How does #GoldTogether raise awareness?
In 2018, #GoldTogether for Childhood Cancer became a national program with the American Cancer Society. This happened because after testing the program for 3 years, Cole sat down with the CEO to share his insight on how a national rollout would support brave children and save lives.
Gold Together encourages volunteers to be a voice for brave children. He was nervous knowing that he was the voice of the children at this meeting, and he was thrilled to have full acceptance of the initiative.
The interaction of American Cancer Society volunteers in their communities and through American Cancer Society communication channels, we raise awareness. Everyone knows what a pink ribbon represents and soon everyone will know that the gold ribbon represents our youngest cancer fighters.
The greatest achievement
What would be considered #GoldTogether’s greatest accomplishment(s)?
The greatest achievement of the Gold Together initiative is that it is an example of what volunteers can accomplish together. If there is a problem, getting involved and working together to find a solution is the solution. Everyone can be an agent of change.
Additionally, each time a child battles cancer, their siblings or family feel encouraged by the opportunities to get involved. They can amplify their efforts with the American Cancer Society and devote the majority of their time to the needs of their families.
When someone looks beyond themselves to help others, it is pride. To date, Gold Together has raised over $2.25 million dedicated to childhood cancer.
Past events and upcoming events
#GoldTogether has generated significant donations and raised awareness through various events, such as the Relay for Life movement. Could you tell us more about the events #GoldTogether is attending and if there are any others to watch?
There is a way for everyone to get involved at any time.
Join or start a Relay For Life Or Together team to fight childhood cancer in your community. Click here to find out more.
It’s time to join and be a voice for brave kids 🎗 100% lucky so fun! https://t.co/CjOI6WXHMg
– Gold together (@GOLD_TOGETHER) September 19, 2020
Become a Gold Together Champion by raising funds and awareness during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September. Learn more here. This is a month-long online virtual event. Hours of service and training will be provided. Registration for new #GoldTogether champions begins in late April.
Join our community of volunteers working on special projects such as Gold Together Youth Ambassadors, create messages of compassion through Love Notes Around The World, and gain real nonprofit experience using your talent through our many volunteer positions. The volunteer community homepage can be found here.
Do what you love and dedicate it to brave kids. Write a story, create a graphic work, dedicate a sports game, have a golden day at school. All of this can become your way of doing something. Need more guidance? Contact by email.
From local to nationally recognized
#GoldTogether was able to grow from a local organization to a nationally recognized organization – how did that go and how was the journey?
In the beginning, when there was only one team, Cole and I were involved in every decision. When it grew to 12 teams in the southeast, we learned to scale things up and provided guidance and a lot of individual freedom for volunteers to make the majority of decisions.
We have learned from these best practices and rely on the same model today. We provide the tools to empower and support our volunteers with ideas that work nationwide.
Proud to be with
What makes you most proud to be with this organization?
Gold Together was founded by a 12 year old who is now 19 and still working out the details of the growth and development plan.
Volunteers are the reason it thrives and American Cancer Society staff are incredibly supportive of the mission and eager to engage and empower members of their communities to get involved.
See this post on Instagram
The name, Gold Together, is aptly named because we really work together.
In the future
Where do you hope to see the initiative in the future?
We are now ready to partner nationally with an organization that wants to align with childhood cancer support and the American Cancer Society. We are incredibly excited to see who our national partners will be.
As we reflect on our mission to raise awareness, support families facing childhood cancer and raise funds dedicated to childhood cancer, we aim to make childhood cancer an area of focus for more treatment options with less long-term side effects.
We will continue to provide people and organizations with ways to align with our mission. Children who have survived childhood cancer will receive lifelong support with the American Cancer Society.
gold tips together
If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Volunteer. You have the ideas that will create the changes we need.
Think BIG and believe in yourself. Whatever you love to do, use that talent to help others, that’s where you’ll find true happiness and make an impact.
How you can get involved
As a magazine focused on teens and young adults, what are ways for Gen Z to get involved in #GoldTogether?
When you volunteer with the American Cancer Society, you have a variety of options and unlimited potential for growth and experience. At every age and every stage, you have something to contribute that is incredibly valuable.
Join or start a Relay For Life Or Together team to fight childhood cancer in your community.
Become a Gold Together Champion by raising funds and awareness during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September. Learn more here.
Join our community of volunteers working on special projects such as Gold Together Youth Ambassadors, create messages of compassion through Love Notes Around The World, and gain real nonprofit experience using your talent through our many volunteer positions.
September is GOLDTogether nights – to support childhood cancer awareness – so everyone can do something to support brave kids#goldtogether #attackcancer#childhoodcanceraction365#KickChildhoodCancer pic.twitter.com/gjnGTB1ASM
– Gold together (@GOLD_TOGETHER) September 2, 2019
Do what you love and your talents and dedicate it to brave kids. Write a story, create a graphic work, dedicate a sports game, have a golden day at school. All of this can become your way of doing something.
“I believe everyone can do something to help children fight cancer. Thank you for being their voice.
Gold Together is on Instagram! Follow them on @goldtogether. Also, their Twitter is @GOLD_TOGETHER.
To get more involved, email [email protected].