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ATHENS, Ala. – September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. The city of Athens is using the month to help citizens learn about symptoms, treatments, prevention and support.

Tina Cook, a cancer survivor herself, lost her mother to ovarian cancer and Kristi Williams lost her 12-year-old son to a type of brain cancer (medulloblastoma). Both women are working to raise awareness in memory of their loved ones.

Athens City Hall doors display a teal ribbon for gynecologic cancer and a gold ribbon for childhood cancer.
Athens City Hall doors display a teal ribbon for gynecologic cancer and a gold ribbon for childhood cancer.

Cook and Williams met with Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks as he proclaimed September an awareness month for both diseases.

“Losing a child or losing a parent to cancer is heartbreaking,” Marks said. “I admire these women for finding ways through their grief to honor their families by raising awareness and supporting our community.”

Williams and her supporters formed Eli’s Block Party Childhood Cancer Foundation to raise money for innovative research and provide events for the Athens community. One of their biggest of the year is Superhero Day.

Eli’s Block Party hosts the event every year to honor the community’s youngest heroes who battle cancer.

Superhero Day will start at 10 a.m. on September 11 at Big Spring Memorial Park in Downtown Athens. There will be superheroes, entertainment, food trucks, rides and inflatables. There will also be a Real Heroes section featuring members of law enforcement, military, fire, farmers, and utility linemen.

Donations and sponsorships help keep the event free to attend.

Cook and her family created Mildred’s Angels, named after her mother, to help families as they travel to care for a terminally ill family member and to raise awareness of gynecologic cancers. The Limestone County Courthouse will shine teal on several nights throughout the month.