Pulaski Grad Goes for Gold in Childhood Cancer Awareness
Erin Tracy may be a Blue Devil, but she has a heart of gold.
Erin graduated from Pulaski High School in 2006. During her time at PACS, she was involved in softball, basketball and tennis, and was a member of the New Visions program during her senior year. She continued her softball career while attending Oswego State. After leaving Oswego, Erin moved to Florida and entered nursing school earning her bachelor’s degree in 2012. It was in nursing school where Erin discovered that pediatric oncology was her life’s passion.
“There are truly no words to describe the injustice kids with cancer are put through, yet they remain the strongest, bravest warriors I've ever encountered. I've watched a child be sick from chemotherapy and then five minutes later ask me to have a tea party. We have so much to learn from them.”
As Erin continued her work, she noticed the severe lack of funding for research for childhood cancer research and knew something had to be done. After hearing about Charlie Peter, a little girl in Pulaski that had been diagnosed with cancer, Erin knew that she had to do something. On March 8, 2018, Erin’s business Fourth and Gold was born.
The name Fourth and Gold comes from many places. Currently, only 4% of cancer research goes toward childhood cancer research. The hope is to get that number much higher. Erin brought her love of football (and the Jacksonville Jaguars) into the mix. In football, there is risk on going for a fourth and goal play, but if it succeeds it’s a huge accomplishment. Fourth and Gold will always go for it and children fighting this disease are certainly worth the risk. Finally, gold is the color that represents childhood cancer.
Childhood cancer has certainly affected the lives of families throughout Pulaski, and members of the PACS Middle School Student Government are working with Erin and Fourth and Gold to help raise awareness. These students have donated the cost of materials and will be making gold ribbons that Erin will be handing out at the Jacksonville Jaguars home opener on September 8 where they will host the Kansas City Chiefs. The hope is that this will help raise awareness for childhood cancer research. “I do what I know how to do to fight back against childhood cancer, and that is by raising awareness and supporting research. It's desperately needed.”
Jill Truax, PACS middle school teacher and advisor for the middle school student government taught Erin in the classroom and coached her on the softball diamond. “Erin is proof that you can come from a small town and a small school and do great things. We are so proud of all that she has accomplished.”
Erin’s website, fourthandgoldllc.com, is filled with information on childhood cancer awareness and research, along with a blog and a “Warrior of the Week.” There is also a store on the website where you can purchase bracelets, shirts and other assorted items. 50% of the proceeds made on the website go toward childhood cancer research and the remaining 50% helps to fund research events and warrior shirts that are sent to kids battling cancer.
“When I started the journey of being a pediatric oncology nurse, I had no idea the impact the children and their families would have on me. I thought I would be the one making a difference, but if you met with these kids every day, you would see that they're the ones who have changed my life. I would do anything for them to have a fair shot at beating cancer.”