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Delafield Neighbors

Annie Raises Awareness and Inspires Action

Aug 27, 2014 03:02PM ● By Laura Ustanovska

Photo by Thistle & Muse

“Are we going to stop raising money for I Back Jack?” Annie Bartosz, a seventh grader at Swallow Elementary School in Hartland, asked her mom and dad, Sarah and John, after learning that her beloved twin brother Jack’s battle with cancer was coming to an end two years ago. They turned the question around and asked Annie what she thought. Annie replied, “I’ll back Jack forever.”

“If people gave up when things didn’t go their way, no one would make a difference. Things didn’t go our way for Jack, but I’m determined to make a difference so no one has to feel like we feel.” These candid words, spoken by Annie, illustrate her perseverance and vision.

During the summer of 2012 as Jack’s health was failing after nearly seven years of fighting neuroblastoma, Annie began asking why everything turns pink in October and people don’t know gold is the color and September is the month for childhood cancer. After listening to her parents’ explanations, Annie said, “Until everything turns gold in September, we've got work to do.” And thus began Gold in September ® (the G9 Project) and Annie’s personal mission to raise awareness and inspire action for childhood cancer initiatives, an area greatly in need of increased resources. Annie vowed to make a difference not just for Jack but for all kids unfairly chosen to battle cancer.

The goal of the G9 Project is to encourage people to donate to any one of the affiliate organizations, hospitals or foundations across the country helping to eradicate childhood cancer. For those people not affiliated with a favorite organization, donations can be made directly to the G9 Project and will be distributed in two ways. First, funds are given to the Children’s Oncology Group's EveryChild Initiative, which is creating a tissue bank of cancer cells from children diagnosed with cancer, allowing for the creation and testing of new therapies. Second, funds are also awarded to 27 G9 Centers of Excellence throughout North America for pediatric cancer care and research.

Annie has accomplished much since the G9 Project was formed. Among a few of her successes and accomplishments from last September, Annie was invited to speak about the G9 Project at an Arrowhead High School football game and organized a spirit week and “Penny War” at Swallow School, the profits of which benefited G9. The concept of a “Penny War” is to create a friendly competition among all the grades to see who can raise the most money in pennies and other monies. Swallow School raised more than $3,000 in a week of awareness, philanthropy, and camaraderie. An avid football fan, a highlight for Annie last year was seeing Trent Dilfer on ESPN wear the gold tie she sent him for Monday Night Football and tweet his support of Gold in September®.

During this 2014 childhood cancer awareness month, Annie will appear on the Morning Blend and Studio A. Her G9 Project will also be featured in a story running on the FOX station in New York City. And mark your calendar to come out and cheer for Annie as she throws the first pitch at the Brewers game on September 13!

Annie is looking forward to working with Arrowhead and Homestead High Schools and other area schools to integrate gold into athletic and extracurricular activities. She is working with school groups and student councils to help them implement successful Penny War fundraisers. Annie is also proud and honored that the Milwaukee Field Hockey Club has embraced the G9 Project and hopes to help her spread the golden goal to teams across the country. Ultimately, Annie hopes her message will be embraced by our own green and gold Packers and be the catalyst for professional teams everywhere to begin showing their support of gold for childhood cancer.

Along with her charitable endeavors, Annie takes pride in being an A student, a flute player in the school band, an avid reader and a great big sister to her little brother Tommy, who will turn two in November. Annie’s winning, determined spirit also carries over to her own athletic activities, including lacrosse, field hockey and philanthropic 5K runs. One of Annie’s summer accomplishments was helping her Milwaukee Field Hockey Club team have a successful inaugural appearance at the Disney Classic tournament held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in July.

Continuing to back Jack is exactly what Annie has done with her own winning spirit and by creating a national, unifying brand that can include everyone and everything under an umbrella of gold. She has created a legacy in memory of her beloved twin brother and the other children battling cancer she met from across the world, and united the childhood cancer community with golden hope. To learn more about Annie’s good works, click here. Show your support by getting involved and proudly displaying gold this month.

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