Childhood Cancer Awareness: Heal Every Life Possible · St. Jude Hospital · Cancer Institute Of New Jersey · New Jersey Dept. of Health
Pediatric cancer patients have a perhaps unlikely ally: Twisted Sister heavy metal frontman Dee Snider.
Snider appears in a video directed by magician Criss “Mindfreak” Angel, singing a stripped-down piano version of his iconic 1984 battle cry We’re Not Gonna Take It to help raise awareness for pediatric cancer research and treatment. The result is surprisingly powerful and emotional, bringing a new meaning to the song.
Twenty months after becoming a father, Angel’s son Johnny Crisstopher was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Frustrated with the relatively meager research funding directed toward pediatric cancer (only four percent), Angel formed HELP (Heal Every Life Possible), a charity that sends every penny it raises to fund pediatric cancer research and treatment.
The video got over four million views in its first week. “The response blindsided us,” Snider told TODAY Parents. “Thirty years ago, I never could have imagined this. There is no degree of separation when it comes to cancer: everyone can relate to it because cancer touches all of us.”
Adds Angel, “This is the most important event not only of my life, but in my effort to help get people focused on what these kids are going through.”
According to St. Jude’s Hospital, 43 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer every day, and approximately 10% of children with cancer develop the disease because they inherited a genetic mutation. But it should be noted that the prognosis is not as poor as it used to be.
The five-year survival rate for children with cancer is now 83 percent, which can be attributed to access to cutting-edge treatments. As the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in New Jersey (one of only 45 in the country), the Rutgers Cancer Institute, for instance, offers an array of investigational treatments to pediatric cancer patients.