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Annie Bartosz

Founder, Gold in September®

Why She’s Amazing

Annie Bartosz doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be more.

It started in 2012 with a question. Then 11-year-old Annie Bartosz asked her mom why everyone knew that pink and October were the color and month for breast cancer awareness, but no one knew that gold and September were the color and month for childhood cancer awareness. Her mom didn’t have an answer, and Gold in September® was born.

Annie created Gold in September® after watching her twin brother, Jack, battle cancer for seven years. With Jack’s passing at age 10, Annie turned her grief into action. She became determined to turn the world gold in September.

The Gold in September® mission is powerful in its simplicity – to raise awareness, create hope, find cures and defeat cancer. Gold in September® supports every child everywhere by uniting all the foundations, organizations, hospitals and people wanting to make a difference.

As a result of Annie’s passion and leadership, Gold in September® has earned nationwide support to raise awareness of childhood cancer. Most recently, Gold in September® was featured by Green Bay Packers’ quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, in the “It’s Aaron” television and online campaign.

Annie was also honored in Boston, Massachusetts, at the 8th annual prestigious “the one hundred” award ceremony. Annie was selected out of 900 nominees as a “100 Everyday Amazing” individual for her commitment to the fight against childhood cancer.

“I believe my brother would be proud of me and, though he may not be by my side, he will be in my heart forever. I believe in Gold in September®,”– Annie Bartosz

Q & A

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up and why?

A: When I grow up, I would like to be a pediatric surgeon because I grew up seeing my brother go through various different surgeries, and I want to do something that helps people. Also, I really like science and math, which are good things to like if you want to go into the medical field.

Q: What do people say when you tell them that?

A: When I tell people I want to be a pediatric surgeon, a lot of times many people have been shocked because, to them, it would make more sense to try to move past what happened to me and want to do something that does not include having a child’s life depend on me. Although, that is not the type of person I am. I want to help others, specifically kids. I want to do something that is important to me, and helping kids is important to me. Others are encouraging and say it is cool that I want to help kids. This is the response I like to hear.

Q: Do people ever call you “princess” and, if so, how does that make you feel?

A: When I was younger, I was called princess occasionally. Back then, I liked being called princess because not only did I like princesses, but I knew princesses were given privileges. As a little kid, being sheltered and given what you want didn’t seem so bad. As I grew older, being called princess became less and less pleasing. I don’t want to sit back and let others fight for me and shelter me. I want to be a hero. I want to help people. I don’t want to be viewed as someone who sits back and watches others fight. I want to be viewed as a fighter and stand by those who need help.

Q: Did you ever think you’d be called an “amazing girl” for choosing to start Gold in September®?

A: I never thought I would be called an “amazing girl” for starting Gold in September®. I wanted to do something for my twin brother, Jack, and all of the kids fighting cancer. Losing Jack was hard on my family and me, so I wanted to try and make sure that other families don’t have to feel the sadness my family feels. Even if I only make a difference in one family’s life, it will be one less family that will have to lose their child, brother, grandchild, or loved one.

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Q: What three words would you like people to use to describe you?

A: I would like people to describe me as compassionate, dedicated and friendly.

Q: What do you want people to know about you outside of raising awareness for childhood cancer?

A: I want people to know that I am still an ordinary kid. I like sports, hanging out with my friends, and listening to music. If it were not for Gold in September®, I’d be a pretty normal kid; I just had something unimaginable happen to me, so I decided to do something about it.

Q: If you could have ice cream with one person, whom would it be?

A: If I could have ice cream with one person, it would be my brother Jack. He died in 2012, right before our 11th birthday. It has been over three years since Jack died, but that doesn’t mean it makes things any easier. I wish I could hear his voice or see him smile one last time. Something as simple as hanging out with your brother, I can’t do and it’s hard to listen to other people complain about their siblings.

Q: What advice would you give to a girl who wants to be just like you?

A: The advice that I would give to a girl who wants to be like me is DON’T GIVE UP. Even if it seems like the worst thing has happened, you just have to keep going. Something good can come out of whatever you are experiencing. You never know how what you do can have a positive effect on other people.

Bonus Question: What question would you ask the next Amazing Girl we interview?

A:I would ask her why she does what she does and when she realized what a difference she was making in other people’s lives.

Fun Facts:

  • #1 on Annie’s Christmas wish list was new field hockey gear.
  • iTunes is her favorite app because she likes to listen to music.
  • Annie’s favorite subject in school is science or math.
  • It’s hard for her to pick a favorite song because she likes a lot of music.
  • Her favorite sports team is the Green Bay Packers.