Sumner County neighbors show support for kids fighting cancer with hundreds of gold bows


What started as a small effort to raise awareness about pediatric cancer is catching on with Sumner County neighbors.

Organizers say they can't believe the response after they started selling gold bows in support of families of children battling the disease.

The gold bows cover the mailboxes in Hendersonville. The group sold 350 ribbons so far and raised thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer.

"I think bows symbolize children," Bonnie Mason said. "They symbolize the children that are fighting. When I pull in my driveway and I see that bow, I see my little girl right there and it's wonderful."

Mason's 4-year-old Maya is battling brain cancer, but she's not going through it alone.

Kari Russell's 9-year-old son Brooks also suffers a brain tumor. Kristy Montalbano's son Mitchell has leukemia.

"My son was four," Russell said. "It's so hard to explain what's going to happen, what has happened, 'your hair will grow back I promise'."

There are 20 families in Sumner County with kids battling cancer.

"It is absolutely amazing to watch these kids," Maltabano said. "They are so brave, they are so strong, they are sitting in their chairs playing with games and getting chemo."

In honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, they've sold hundreds of gold ribbons raising thousands of dollars for Vanderbilt Children's Oncology Clinic, where their children receive treatment.

"When it's your child, it's a completely and totally helpless feeling because there's nothing you can do to fix it, and there's nothing you can do to make it better," Mantalbano said.

This common bond these three women wish they didn't have has brought them together as a force for good.

"I want that awareness that we are here," Russell said. "Our kids are here, and that we're here for you in the dreadful event that your child is diagnosed as well."

"Children are supposed to have fun and be silly," Mason said. "They shouldn't have to sit in a clinic for hours and miss out on things."

All of their hard work is leading up to a big event on September 24. The community is invited to rally behind all the kids battling cancer from 12:30-2:00 p.m. at Godwhy Church in Hendersonville.

Keep up with the group on their Facebook page Sumner County Goes Gold.

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