Originally published Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 06:00p.m.

KINGMAN – Kingman Academy of Learning students, celebrated the last day of September by wearing a gold ribbon to spread awareness for childhood cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Nikita Deffendoll, a volunteer with Fighting All Monsters, a non-profit organization that brings support to families with children facing life threatening challenges like cancer or disabilities.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2018 it was estimated that 15,590 kids and adolescents ages 0 to 19 will be diagnosed with cancer and 1,780 will die from the disease in the U.S.

“The goal here is to have people aware and help out any kind of way. Money is great but you know anything like giving a toothbrush because you’re in a hospital or mow the lawn while you’re gone,” she said. “Those little things help a lot.”

Trudi Bradley, primary principal, told students that were representing each school to let their peers know about why they are wearing the gold ribbon.

Deffendoll said spreading awareness means a lot to her because she would want the same amount of advocacy if it was her child.

“It’s like a ripple effect … the kids say something, the parents do something, get the kids involved. I want my kids to know that they can volunteer and help other people and not just themselves,” Deffendoll said.

Nancy Villanueva, Frozen Yogurt Island owner, said it’s to bring the message out and that cancer doesn’t affect everybody but it affects everybody in one way or another.

“It was Natalie that brought this whole community together,” Villanueva said. “I personally have not been affected by it, and hope I never am, but I personally have been affected by Natalie and other people in the community that has cancer or a child, there’s quite a few and we just need to have that awareness out there,” Villanueva said.

Natalie Dawn Willard was a Kingman girl who was diagnosed with stage four high risk neuroblastoma at age 2 and released in June 2018, and passed away June 2019.

Serena Patterson, owner of The Farmhouse, provided the gold ribbons for KAOL students and staff. Villanueva, provided four gift certificates one for each of the schools to give away, and 1,500 free cone coupons for each student.