September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, but for some kids, it’s also time to let the world know that kids with cancer should not be defined by their disease.

Circle of Care is a Wilton-based organization that supports families of children with cancer. They’ve recently launched a campaign called #ImNOTmyCancer as a reminder that children with cancer are still, most importantly, kids–with hobbies and favorite sports and a desire to be known for something other than having cancer.

“Too many children with cancer are known for the disease they have, not who they are,” said Liz Salguero, Circle of Care Founder and mother to her own pediatric cancer survivor. “We launched this effort–which will live on our website beyond Pediatric Cancer Awareness month–to provide a forum where children with cancer can tell the world about who they are.”

Wilton High School students Grace Kelleher and Caraline Higgins were so moved by this effort that they spent the summer making posters and petitioning the school to allow them to get their classmates involved. They set up tables at WHS during September, sharing profiles of children from our community, providing information about childhood cancer, and asking students to write personal notes to support children in treatment.

Circle of care cards

They’ve collected piles of personal notes that have been written for kids in treatment, and Circle of Care will deliver those notes to local hospitals. “Imagine the faces of those children when their rooms are flooded with notes from the students in our community who support them,” said Salguero, who added that it’s a meaningful teaching moment for the students in addition to being something to help children with cancer. “Like Circle of Care itself, these students are learning that they can have a direct impact, and that’s a powerful lesson.”

Profiles of some very inspiring young people can be found on the Circle of Care website. Meet 8-year-old Zach, a huge New York Giants, Knicks and Rangers fan. Or 15-year-old Vivi, who plays travel softball and sings in the choir. If you know a child with cancer who wants to share their story, please visit the Circle of Care website.

How can your child get involved?

Any child can take part in this effort. Grab some markers or crayons and have your child write an inspiring note to another child who just might need a few words of encouragement. Circle of Care will deliver all notes to children in treatment in our community and surrounding towns. Please send notes to: Circle of Care, PO BOX  32, Wilton CT 06897. For more information, contact info@thecircleofcare.org.