NEW YORK - Alexandria Caggia, 15, was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago. She is in remission now, but is more than upset. For the second year in a row, the Empire State Building is refusing to light up gold in September for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. "It's really upsetting because we're just asking for one day and they won't even tell us the reason they are denying our request," she said.
Alex was shocked to hear the Empire State Building just sent out denial letters to organizations asking the building to light up gold. The letter reads in part: "...the decision has been made to deny your request." Last year, Alexandria's mom, Paula, and other parents posted pictures of their sick children on the Empire State Building Facebook page, hoping the building would go gold.
"The Empire State Building deleted all comments," Paula Caggia said. "They blocked us from even commenting further once they deleted the pictures."
Other landmarks jumped in to help. One World Trade, Times Square, and the Helmsley Building lit up gold last September.
This year, Miss New York Jamie Lynn Macchia, who lost a friend to childhood cancer, joined in the fight. But she received the same denial letter and posted it on her Facebook page.
"As a New Yorker I want to see that building light up gold and recognize all the children who are fighting," Macchia said. "But if they're not going to we're going to use this opportunity to really make noise on bigger platform."
The Empire State Building will light up green in October for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. A spokesperson told Fox 5 the building's lights have shined many times for cancer awareness and said "Unfortunately we cannot light for all organizations which apply."
But Alex wants to know why not gold?
"I know they lit it up for the poor lion who got murdered but what about the poor children that are dying every day because of this disease?" she said. "Aren't they just as important?"
Only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute's annual budget is dedicated to childhood cancer. Advocates believe more recognition will lead to more funding, which will lead to more research, which could lead to a cure.