Families

‘One of Those Good Days’: Ambassador Harlem’s Third Shave for St. Baldrick’s

by Lisa Clemons
April 16, 2014 0 comments

Harlem’s mom reflects on his journey with childhood cancer and his first St. Baldrick’s event as an Ambassador. (Find a St. Baldrick’s event near you!)

Harlem and Lisa Clemons

Harlem and his mom, Lisa. Harlem is one of five 2014 St. Baldrick’s Ambassadors.

When Harlem was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma at age 5, I was numb. How can this happen to my child? Why must we fight this uphill battle?

I’ll never know the answers to these questions, but I do know that modern medicine has come a long way. Having lost my mother to breast cancer nearly 20 years ago, I could only imagine that my son would be the next person I’d lose to this dreaded disease. Could this child, who has been so full of life since birth, be held back by this diagnosis?

The answer to that question was no! It was Harlem’s disposition that got me through the rough days — and I don’t mean his roughest days, because thankfully he did not have any. As a mother, you want to protect your child and bare any pain they may encounter. The feeling of helplessness pours over you day in and day out. You are happy to see your child’s eyes open in the morning and afraid to see them close at night, praying that this isn’t the last precious moment with them.

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News

Shop Sevenly.org to Fund Kids’ Cancer Research

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 14, 2014 0 comments

We are excited to announce that we have been chosen as Sevenly’s featured charity of the week!

This week only, shop Sevenly to support St. Baldrick's and help kids with cancer
Sevenly is a social good company that raises money for nonprofits through the sale of their clothing and lifestyle products.

From April 14 through April 21, St. Baldrick’s will receive $7 for each item purchased through Sevenly.org. Choose from four exclusive shirt designs in a variety of styles inspired by our fight to Conquer Childhood Cancers, or shop their array of accessories and goods — from jewelry to posters to dog leashes, there’s something for everyone in your family!

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Families

Chase’s Best Shot: One Boy’s Remarkable Triumph Over Pediatric Brain Cancer

by Eleanor Ewoldt
April 14, 2014 0 comments

In August 2012, Chase was diagnosed with a rare and deadly pediatric brain tumor. Chase is now 4 years old and participating in a St. Baldrick’s-funded children’s cancer study, and his scans continue to show no evidence of disease. Chase’s mom, Eleanor, explains Chase’s story and the need for more childhood cancer research funding. (You can make a difference — get involved!)

Chase while in treatment for atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT)

Chase was diagnosed with ATRT, a type of brain cancer in children, when he was 2.

“He’s holding his head up on his own! This boy is going to be strong!”

The joyful doctor laid the small newborn baby on my chest as the oxygen raced into him and a tiny scream, that first sound, echoed in the room. This small, headstrong baby, born with so much fight, would be named Chase.

Two years, seven months, 18 days, and about 13 hours later, Chase’s older sister would run into our room in the middle of the night and tell us that Chase wouldn’t stop moving in his bed and it was keeping her awake. He wouldn’t stop because, as we quickly discovered, he couldn’t. He was having seizure.

Within minutes, I lay on an ambulance stretcher, one hand holding my headstrong baby and the other clutching an oxygen mask to his precious face.

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Facts

Types of Childhood Cancer: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 11, 2014 0 comments

What is acute myeloid leukemia?
by Benjamin Mizukawa, M.D.

Dr. Mizukawa is a St. Baldrick’s Scholar. His research focuses on discovery of new drugs for pediatric acute myeloid leukemia by understanding the way leukemia cells communicate with each other and other parts of the body.

What is acute myeloid leukemia (AML)?

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. Leukemia cells divide quickly and fail to mature into normal, functioning blood cells.

Acute leukemia progresses rapidly and is classified into two general subtypes:

  • When the cancer affects the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, it is called acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.
  • When the cancer affects other blood cell types, such as red blood cells, platelet-forming cells, and other types of white blood cells, it is called acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.

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Kathleen’s Desk

Thank You for Helping Us Make History

by Kathleen Ruddy, CEO, St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 9, 2014 0 comments

Get involved with St. Baldrick’s.     Get Involved

Official Guinness World Record certificate

The official Guinness World Record certificate awarded to barber David Alexander on behalf of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

This morning, kids with childhood cancer have a new place in history because of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s volunteers. Records were broken — again!

David Alexander, a long-time St. Baldrick’s leader and barber, set a Guinness World Record by shaving the most heads in one hour — 73 — on the Today Show. David was ready for this day; he organized a test shave to prepare for the official Guinness World Record challenge. And he’s no stranger to St. Baldrick’s; he has personally raised over $674,000 for lifesaving childhood cancer research and has the St. Baldrick’s logo tattooed over his heart!

David is one of many extraordinary people who we’re so privileged to know. More than 80 volunteers joined him on the Today Show set. They came to midtown Manhattan from throughout the tri-state area, arriving at the crack of dawn to experience one of the fastest shaves, all for one reason — to put a spotlight on kids with cancer, their fight, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s mission to give all kids with cancer long and healthy lives.

The kids we all fight for are the greatest heroes we’ll ever know. But I’ve always believed that the kids inspire the best, from the best people, and the St. Baldrick’s community proved that again today.

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Head-Shaving Fundraisers

St. Baldrick’s Barber Sets a New Guinness World Record on the Today Show

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 9, 2014 0 comments

Fund lifesaving childhood cancer research.   Donate

“Bald is beautiful” was the phrase of the day this morning on NBC’s Today Show, as St. Baldrick’s barber David Alexander broke a Guinness World Record for most heads shaved in one hour by one barber.

David-Alexander-World-Record

Officially amazing: St. Baldrick’s barber David Alexander shaved 73 heads in one hour to set a new Guinness World Record on the Today Show.

David, the lead barber for Atlanta’s Ri Ra Irish Pub event in March, traveled to New York City and shaved the heads of 73 volunteers who shaved in honor of kids with cancer. The event was captured live as part of the Today Show’s “Spring Breakers TODAY” series.

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Families

A Letter to David: ‘You Would Have Loved This’

by Susan Heard
April 9, 2014 0 comments

After her 14th shave for St. Baldrick’s last year, Susan thought she was done. Today, hers was the first head shaved live on the Today Show as St. Baldrick’s barber David Alexander broke the Guinness World Record for most heads shaved in one hour. She wrote this letter to her son, David, who passed away from neuroblastoma at age 10 and who continues to inspire her to fight to cure childhood cancer. (Join her in the fight!)

David

David while he was battling neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer.

Dear David,

Hello, my sweet boy. By now you would be almost done with eighth grade and we would be getting ready for high school. Instead, your eternal reef is green and fully supporting the ocean habitats you so loved. And I have made a decision. Well, a change in a decision I made last year in a hotel ballroom in San Antonio with 45 other women.

Last June, I said I was done shaving my head. I no longer needed my grief to be such an external expression. Over the three years of missing you I had absorbed it enough to let my hair grow. That was a huge day and a huge announcement, especially after your dying wish to me: “Keep shaving your head and raising money to fund cures for kids.”

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Kids with Cancer

From the Barber’s Chair to the Front Lines in the Fight Against Kids’ Cancer

by Aaron Thompson
April 8, 2014 0 comments

After his fourth shave for St. Baldrick’s, Aaron found out he had childhood cancer. The end of March marked one year of remission for Aaron. He shares his thoughts after his sixth St. Baldrick’s event. (Find an event near you!)

Aaron Thompson

Aaron in 2012 before he was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.

I was 11 the first time I participated in a St. Baldrick’s event. It was 2009 and I was at a swim meet when my coach mentioned there would be a head-shaving event to benefit childhood cancer research right in my home town of Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

At that time, I thought the idea of shaving my head would be cool and kind of fun. I was one of the only kids in my town to participate. After a few more years of being a shavee, I learned more about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the importance of raising money and shaving your head to support children’s cancer research.

I created my own team, the Bald Buddies, and encouraged some friends from school to raise money and shave their heads with me. As the years went on, my team, as well as the event, grew larger and larger.

Around Thanksgiving of 2012, I noticed a grape-sized bump on the side of my neck. My mom thought it was a swollen gland but since I didn’t have any other symptoms, we waited to see if it changed or went away.

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Research

The Dream Team’s Progress Explained by a Non-Scientist

by Becky C. Weaver
April 7, 2014 0 comments

One year ago today, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation announced the Stand Up to Cancer – St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, a group of the best and brightest pediatric oncology researchers focused on developing innovative therapies for childhood cancers. Becky Weaver, chief philanthropy officer of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, shares this update on the Dream Team’s work.

Dr. Crystal Mackall at the Stand Up to Cancer Scientific Summit

Dr. Crystal Mackall, co-chair of the Stand Up to Cancer – St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, speaks at the Stand Up to Cancer Scientific Summit.

If you’re not a scientist and you want to know what the Dream Team is up to, I’m your guide.

To learn about the Dream Team’s first six months of progress, I went to the Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) Scientific Summit in Pasadena, California. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the first pediatric cancer organization to partner with SU2C to fund a Dream Team. Representatives from other funding partners were there, too.

There we sat in a room full of people so smart they made my head spin. So if they can make me understand what’s going on, I can pass it along and you’ll be just fine.

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Research

A Six-Month Childhood Cancer Research Progress Report from the Dream Team

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 7, 2014 0 comments

Dr. Crystal L. Mackall and Dr. John M. Maris, co-chairs of the Stand Up to Cancer – St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, explain the Dream Team’s children’s cancer research goals and how they’ve been working to meet them.

Stand Up to Cancer - St. Baldrick's Pediatric Cancer Dream Team Update
The Dream Team: Background

Cure rates for childhood cancer haven’t improved for the last 20 years, and for some childhood cancers, less than 20 percent of patients survive. Current treatments for childhood cancer often cause lifelong side effects. We need new, more effective treatments for childhood cancers.

Cancer genomics is the field of research designed to define the genetic reasons that cancer arises in the first place, and behaves aggressively in some patients.

Immunotherapy is an approach to treating cancer that harnesses the power of the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells.

Pediatric cancer researchers in both fields have made exciting recent advances, but historically these have occurred in parallel with little cross-fertilization.

The St. Baldrick’s – Stand Up to Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team is made up of researchers from seven institutions in North America whose goal is to create new immune-based therapies for pediatric cancer based on the individual patient’s tumor genomics and what makes the cancer cells different from the rest of the body.

The Dream Team was launched in July 2013 and will work together on this problem for four years. The research brings together experts who study the genetic abnormalities that drive and sustain cancer cells, with experts in immunology who study the human immune system.

This is the first time that researchers from these two distinct fields have come together to battle the problem of childhood cancer.

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