September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and in recognition the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation announces its second annual awareness and fundraising effort — the Gold Ribbon Campaign — that kicked off Sept. 1 and will culminate Oct. 2 with a Gold Ribbon Luncheon at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore in Santa Barbara.

The campaign seeks to increase public knowledge about the gold ribbon symbol, foster understanding of childhood cancer issues, create supportive communities for families who are experiencing childhood cancer and provide funding for TBCF’s critical emotional and financial support programs.

“Last year, TBCF served more than 650 individuals with the collaborative efforts of local businesses, hospital professionals, and donors like you and me,” said Carol Burnett, 2014 Gold Ribbon Campaign celebrity spokeswoman. “This is your opportunity to make a difference by becoming involved today. We can use your time, your treasure and your support.”

The gold ribbon is the worldwide official ribbon of children with cancer. Every day, 36 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Over 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. One in 300 children will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 20 years old. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, their parents have to take time off work, or quit their job, to be in the hospital with their child — significantly decreasing their monthly income.

“TBCF is very committed to our families in the Tri-Counties,” said Lindsey Guerrero, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation executive director. “We believe that raising awareness about childhood cancer in our community will ignite support for us, which in turn will enable us to provide support to families during the difficult period of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.”

One such family includes the Fuentes family of Santa Barbara, whose son, Jayson, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on May 29.

“On May 29, 2014, my son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The day of his diagnosis will never fade away. It was the day I felt like I was living in a nightmare. Not only did we receive the news of his diagnosis, but we also were told about all of the horrible side effects that come with treatment.

“Our son had to stay a whole month in the hospital to figure out the exact type of cancer he had — as a result we not only had to worry about our son’s treatment, but also about not being able to work. We did not have money coming in and bills started piling up — I was so worried about my little guy but also about my other children.

“Days went by and our financial and emotional struggles kept adding up. I eventually lost my job. I did not know how we were going to overcome all of this. Thankfully, as they say, to every negative there is a positive. Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation was there to support me and my family, making my little Jay smile with that one little toy, helping out with that bill that is just adding up, giving our family emotional support and even giving my daughter the opportunity to do volunteer work while her brother was across the street at Cottage Hospital.

“All those sleepless nights and long difficult days have slowly started to fade away. It will take some time to recover from this, but it makes me feel better knowing that someone does care and is willing to help. My family and I consider Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation our family. Thanks for making my son always smile!”

A contribution to the Gold Ribbon Campaign supports TBCF’s many programs in the community that provide support to local families during the difficult period of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

This September, wear a gold ribbon to support childhood cancer awareness and get involved by making a donation, volunteering your time or finding out how you can help. This is your golden opportunity — be a champion for local children with cancer and their families during Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s Gold Ribbon Campaign. To donate, click here or call 805.962.7466.

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation would like to thank their sponsors, without whom the 2014 Gold Ribbon Campaign would not be possible:

Gold Champion Bear Sponsors: The Carrie Hamilton Fund, established by Jeff and Margo Barbakow, Earl and Claudia Minnis and family, and Bobby W. Ryan and family; Visionary Bear Sponsors: Alamar Capital Management, Jim Bechtel, Thomas and Nancy Crawford, Roberta and Stan Fishman, Berkley Aviation, and Jason and Michelle Niemela, Wells Fargo; Advocate Bear Sponsors: Keith Berry Real Estate, Cottage Children’s Hospital, MarBorg Industries, Venoco Inc. and the Volentine Family Foundation; Healer Bear Sponsors: Julia Delgado, M.D., general pediatrics, Donna Barranco Fisher, Rosalind Gies-Amorteguy, Heritage Oaks Bank, Maloney Wealth Management Group, UBS Financial Services, Montecito Bank & Trust, Mark and Nicole Romasanta, SB Philanthropy, Tina Fanucchi-Frontado, and Robert and Linda Vannier; and Media Sponsors: Noozhawk, Santa Barbara Independent, KEYT, Montecito Journal, Cox, CASA Magazine and

— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.