Doing it for dad

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Voorhees Sun

Ryan and Richy Golden are like any other typical 11-year-old twin brothers. They like to play their Playstation 2 after school, hang out with friends, and help their mom, Jeanette, around the house when she comes home from work.

But, during their free time they can be seen around the community working odd jobs for their neighbors. Washing a car, watering plants, or walking a pet for a few dollars, the young boys are always working at a new job. However, the money doesn’t go to new video games or toys; it all goes towards one goal, their father, Richard Golden.

“It’s fun to go around and do chores to help out my family,” Richy said. “I’ve been helping my mom out a lot. It’s fun. We’re doing it for our dad.”

Three years ago Richard was diagnosed with Stage IV Adrenocortical Carcinoma, an extremely rare form of cancer that forms in the outer layer of tissue on the adrenal glands. The cancer only affects about one in 1 million people, according to the National Cancer Institute. Remissions at stage IV are also rare, according to the institute.

But, instead of sitting around and dwelling on their father’s current condition, the boys are striving to help. After three years of travelling across the country and meeting with cancer specialists, Richard became aware of a promising integrative oncology treatment available at “An Oasis of Healing,” a medical facility in Mesa, Ariz.

It’s a costly treatment, upward of $50,000, which is why the young brothers are doing so many chores around the neighborhood. To help with the fund raising, the brothers — along with their sister Arielle — set up a Web site called BleepCancer.org, which allows the public to make donations to help with the cost of their father’s treatment.

As a father, Richard said he’s extremely proud of his children who are facing such a tremendous case of adversity.

“My sons are really excited about the Web site, and that’s great. When you’re 11 years old and you see your father struggling with a disease, they think to themselves, what can I do,” he said. “They handed out flyers for the Web site and they talk with people, trying to get the word out. It’s wonderful. I’m very proud of them, I made them little business cards with bleepcancer.org and they passed them out to their friends and family. It was a really nice way of bringing people in.”

Since he began the treatment on Nov. 3, Richard said the tumors’ growth rate has already decreased by 50 percent. He finished up his last session on Monday, Nov. 23 and now the bills are starting to pile up, Richard said.

“We’re helping our dad with Bleep Cancer because we really love him a lot. We don’t want him to pass away. We got the idea when he picked us up one day to make a web site. We didn’t think it would happen, but with my dad and sister Arielle’s help, we made it,” Ryan said. “It was a teeny web site, not a lot of people went on it, but its started to get bigger and its helped a lot. We were pretty much inspired by him.”

So far, the Web site has gathered almost $10,000 through donations from the public.

It’s been rough on the family in the past three years since Richard was diagnosed with cancer, Jeanette said. She and Richard separated a few years ago and she moved out of their sprawling home in Pennsylvania into an apartment in the township with the twins. She’s suffered from several illnesses as well, having been in and out of the hospital for the past year.

Richy was also recently diagnosed with Pancreatitis and had to spend several painful days in the emergency room as he recovered, said Jeanette.

Through it all though the twins, and their sister, have been incredibly strong, Jeanette said. Their teachers love them at Osage Middle School, she said, and their guidance counselor has been so supportive during this difficult time.

The boys have taken such a remarkable, pro-active response to a terrible situation it’s inspiring, she said.

“They made up flyers about Bleepcancer.org instead of sitting around and feeling sorry. They said, ‘lets do something. We can make a difference.’ They want to save their daddy so much,” she said. “But the fact is this will be a way to help other people as well. For 10 years I was team captain for Relay for Life, and we’ve all seen devastating cancer can be. But, there are so many ways you can be active. You don’t have to sit around and wait for nature take its course; you can get up and help others.”

For more information, please visit the Web site at BleepCancer.org.