Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation’s mission (AWOCCF) is to fund less toxic therapies for children with cancer so they can have a better quality of life as they battle the disease and to give families hope by bridging the funding gap and making available potentially life-saving clinical trials that would otherwise not be available.
Through its many programs, Arms Wide Open also helps families throughout the United States both financially and emotionally who are suffering hardship due to their child’s diagnosis of cancer, providing them with support during the most difficult time of their lives. Arms Wide Open supports families from diagnosis to sadly, sometimes their child’s death, and beyond.
Through AWOCCF’s Emmy-Award winning documentaries and awareness campaign, The Truth 365, the foundation is committed to educating the general public on the truth about childhood cancer, raising awareness on a global level, uniting the childhood cancer community, starting a movement through CureFest, and giving children with cancer a voice so that they will see change in their lifetime.
Childhood Cancer Talk Radio was fortunate to interview the man behind the camera for our show Thursday, Jan. 7 2021 on TogiNet Radio. A childhood cancer advocate since 2007, Mike Gillette is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, photographer who also serves as Public Relations Director for Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation. He lives in northern Virginia with his family, and uses his talents to help give a voice to children with cancer. We get a privileged glimpse into the background of the caring person who co-founded, along with AWOCCF founder Dena Sherwood, The Truth 365 campaign. Mike is one of those rare and beloved individuals who have not themselves had a child afflicted with cancer in his own family, but was touched by the experience of witnessing a child’s fight with cancer and realized, “this could be my child,” that these are all of our children. He became an influential and effective childhood cancer advocate and was integral to the creation of CureFest, an annual event for the childhood cancer community on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
In our conversation we discuss advocating for children during the pandemic and how the pandemic has adversely affected non-profits in their outreach, the lesser-known realities of childhood cancer, advocacy, and a little history of CureFest and tentative plans for CureFest ’21 and most definitely CureFest 2022.