Whenever a child dies of pediatric cancer, it makes Melville teen Jordan Belous “super-duper angry,” she says -- and that’s why the 19-year-old is continuing her annual Heart of Gold campaign to raise money for pediatric cancer research this September.
Through the third annual Heart of Gold effort, schools request paper hearts lined with gold from Belous’ Whip Pediatric Cancer foundation. Each student is supposed to decorate and write their name on a heart and give a suggested donation of $2 to the foundation that will be passed on to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan for pediatric cancer research. Belous also requests that they post their hearts on social media with #whippediatriccancer.
“It’s a really good program to raise awareness,” says Amber Willard of Arizona, whose daughter Natalie, 4, is being treated at Sloan Kettering for neuroblastoma. Natalie posed with Belous to launch this year’s third annual campaign.
So far this summer, Belous has had close to 400 requests for hearts, some of them also coming from businesses raising money through their customers, she says. “We’re off to a really good start,” says Belous, whom most people call "JJ" and who is a rising sophomore at Michigan State University.
Gold is the official color of pediatric cancer, and September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In the summer of 2015, Belous launched her original #WhipPediatricCancer campaign urging groups and individuals to post videos of themselves dancing to the song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” by Silentó and donate to Sloan Kettering.
To participate in Heart of Gold, visit whippediatriccancer.org.