The Naperville Central and Naperville North swimming teams came together to participate in the “Go Gold Go Bold” event created by Cal’s Angels Foundation on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The event took place during a swim meet and it rose awareness towards pediatric cancer.
The family of junior Naperville Central varsity swimmer Paige Collins decided to collaborate with the Cal’s Angels Foundation to support the war against pediatric cancer since Paige’s little brother, Ryan Collins battled with cancer last year. He was diagnosed with Begino Blastoma and spent a year fighting off the cancer with radiation treatment.
Collin explains how the war against pediatric cancer is fought by 40,000 children each year, yet the National Cancer Institute only spends 4% of their funds on research for pediatric cancer.
“The government only funds 4% towards pediatric cancer research and 96% goes towards adult cancers,” Collins said.
September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, and the Collins family explained how Ryan wants to create awareness during this pivotal time to start a movement and raise money to fund research and find a cure. A conversation can lead to awareness which is the first and most important step in finding the cure to pediatric cancer, for this reason the Cal’s Angels Foundation created the “Go Gold Go Bold” events to be supported by fall athletic events.
Once Collins heard about this event, she thought it would be a great way to incorporate it into the swim meet and do it alongside Naperville North.
“[The swim team girls] put things aside to come together for a great cause,” Collin said. “Then, with another high school on top of it, you’re two different teams, but you’re one district and you come together for a cause. I think that there’s nothing better than that for unity and team building.”
When the Collins family collaborated with Cal’s Angels to create a “Go Gold Go Bold” meet at Naperville Central, Cal’s Angels donated all the means necessary to make this possible, such as golden swim caps, t-shirts, and towels.
“They donated the caps and towels because for them these types of events are not about making money, they’re about bringing awareness and starting a conversation,” Collins said.
The commemoration took place after warmups before the first event at the meet. The whole thing was coordinated by the Senior Captains of Naperville Central’s swim team who explained the mission of the Cal’s Angels Organization and how they are taking a stand against pediatric cancer. Senior at Naperville Central and Swim Team Captain Emma Guccione elucidated how this whole gesture showed support and brought the swim team together as a family.
“I think it just shows support” Guccione said. “Seeing everyone come together, it unites the team to support a good cause.. I know swim team is kind of like a family, so I feel like this made our family even stronger because we can get through things like this, but seeing it makes it even more real.”