FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A local 14-year-old girl took her own approach at raising awareness for childhood cancer. It’s called Fort Wayne Goes Gold. Victoria Valentine, has cancer herself but this wasn’t about her.
Victoria has always liked little kids. Through the countless months, weeks, and days she spent at Riley Children’s Hospital, her love for children grew even more. It’s the reason she’s started the challenge. Even though she’s a patient too, it’s not for her, but other kids battling cancer. “They’re just so happy; they don’t care that they have cancer and you just look at them and you just don’t understand. Like how could I feel sorry for myself? How could I burden myself and feel sorry for myself when they don’t have a care in the world?”
Gold is the color assigned to September as the awareness month for childhood cancer. Victoria wanted to have local businesses put up balloons to spark discussion on the topic. It turned out yellow was easier to get. “People are going to wonder why only yellow balloons and they’re going to ask and that person gets awareness.”
Victoria met the owner, Jay Leonard, a couple days later. They found out they had a big thing in common. They both love Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do. Leonard and his family as well as business have been involved in the camp for more than 20 years. Victoria is a former camper and said it made her feel like she didn’t have cancer and was a ‘normal kid.’
Leonard said he knew Victoria was a unique. “She told me the story about the little 3-year-old girl who had the same type of cancer she had. She made the comment it’s not fair, she doesn’t have a voice; I mean she can’t tell the people how she feels. I’ve lived a good life (she said this, she’s 14 and said I’ve lived a good life) and why does she have to have cancer at three? I knew then Victoria was something special.”
Other businesses have accepted the challenge as well. Including Anytime Fitness, Novea, Casa and Diesel Brothers . It all brings a smile to Victoria’s face during an exhausting scheduled travelling three times a week to Riley for treatments. But still a humble heart, she didn’t want any credit. “4% of cancer funding goes to childhood cancer. To see the
little kids- I just can’t feel sorry for myself.”