Paint the Town Gold Activities Set to Begin this Weekend

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Abbie Hensley , Staff Writer

A community-wide project taking place in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon proves that raising awareness for pediatric cancer has never looked so good.

The month of September is a busy month for the Paint the Town Gold organization, which involves many pediatric cancer patients coming together to help put an end to the illness. It features four separate events focused on family friendly fun all in the name of ending the struggles against childhood cancer.

This Saturday, Sept. 5, at 11 a.m.-5 p.m. the events kick off with the Go Gold Festival. This festival will involve a variety of food, entertainment and activities for the community to enjoy, according to the Paint the Town Gold website.

The organization will hold three other events throughout the month, including a 5k walk/run, a trivia night and a gala.

Todd Schultz is the founder and head of the committee looking to fight cancers like the one he has. Schultz, now 15 years old, was diagnosed with high risk Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2013.

“I want people to realize that Pediatric Cancer is a very under-funded disease,” Schultz said, “and also that it is a very real thing.” About 10,380 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015, according to the American Cancer Society.

Mariah Guilbeault, a graduate of Metro East Lutheran High School in 2014, is another teenager affected by pediatric cancer, and is also involved in the Paint the Town Gold movement. Guilbeault was diagnosed her junior year of high school.

“Being diagnosed [with cancer] was pretty tough,” Guilbeault said. “But with the bad also comes good. I learned that life is short and to love your family and friends no matter what.”

They hope to spread their idea to neighboring towns.

“Next year we hope to bring this to other communities and spread even more awareness,” Guilbeault said.

The end accomplishment for Paint the Town Gold is to raise $100,000 within the month of September, all of which will be put towards research to help find a cure for childhood cancer.

“My goal with Paint the Town Gold is to make sure that nobody else has to go through what we have had to go through,” Schultz said. “Defeating childhood cancer can make a step in defeating all cancers.”