Events and Fundraisers

This Pilot Leaves Toy Cars Around the World to Spread Awareness About Childhood Cancer

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 30, 2018

When Brian flies around the world for UPS, a little piece of Ambassador Brooks comes along on the trip – his favorite toy, Hot Wheels cars. ”I think about him every day now,” Brian said of Brooks. Learn about how this pilot and his wife, Natalie, were inspired by Brooks and took to the skies (and the barber’s chair) to fundraise for childhood cancer research in Brooks’ honor.

Brian shaves while holding a sign that reads: Brooks

Brian shaved at the Be Brooks Brave and Shave head-shaving event in Indiana to honor Ambassador Brooks, a local 6-year-old boy who died of brain and spine cancer in 2016. “Unfortunately, we never had the opportunity to meet Brooks, but his story is definitely in our hearts, that’s for sure,” said Brian’s wife, Natalie.

When Brian’s wife, Natalie, first read about Ambassador Brooks on Facebook, she couldn’t get the story out of her head and her heart. He was so young, innocent and healthy looking, but he had pediatric brain cancer. With his dark hair and dark eyes, Brooks reminded Natalie of her own son. 

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Families

Honored Kid Sully Beats Brain Cancer One Step at a Time

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 22, 2018

Honored Kid Sully loves to bike, run and wrestle with his brothers like any 11-year-old boy. He even tried out skiing over spring break. You’d never expect that just a year and a half ago, Sully woke up from surgery unable to walk.

Honored Kid Sullivan before his diagnosis

Honored Kid Sully loves to bike, run, ride roller coasters and play with his brothers, Cashel and Finn. He wants to be a civil engineer when he grows up and dreams of designing the world’s best roller coasters.

It all started with back pain. It was innocuous at first. Hot baths would relieve Sully’s pain for a while, but it would come back with a vengeance. Finally, after many doctor’s visits, a lot of ibuprofen and no improvement, Sully’s parents, Dan and Jen, brought their son to the ER.

Hours later, the boy was in emergency brain surgery.

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Real-Life Stories

Childhood Cancer Survivors Shouldn’t Spend Their Lives Struggling

by Marianne Bergman
May 18, 2018

Marianne’s daughter, Melissa, is a 31-year survivor of pediatric brain cancer — essentially, she’s a miracle. But being a survivor doesn’t mean that the childhood cancer journey is over. Just the opposite. Here is Marianne with the story of a recent difficult chapter of Melissa’s ongoing struggle with the long-term effects of her treatment.

Melissa with her nurse

Marianne’s daughter, Melissa, with her nurse of 31 years. Melissa was diagnosed with brain cancer as a child and has since struggled with severe long-term effects from the intense treatment she received.

It’s been over 31 years and it can still make my heart race with fear. Cancer. Cancer. Cancer.

Melissa, my daughter, has lived independently for over 17 years, despite limitations caused by treatment for pediatric brain cancer. Seventeen years after finishing treatment, she began suffering through many seizures and 8 strokes. She was forced to quit her job with Disney and rely on disability benefits to pay her bills.

Learn more about childhood cancer survivors like Melissa >

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Events and Fundraisers

And the St. Baldrick’s 2018 #BestBaldMom is…

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 13, 2018

We’ve already shaved over 30,000 heads this year to raise money for kids’ cancer research. That’s a lot of bald heads! So, for Mother’s Day, we wanted to do something special for all the extra-special moms who went bald in support of kids with cancer. Check out the winners of our #BestBaldMom contest below. 

This year’s #BestBaldMom contest made for some tough decisions. How could you not vote for all of them?

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Families

6 Cancer Moms Reflect on Mother’s Day

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 13, 2018

At St. Baldrick’s, funding childhood cancer research is our mission. But for six of our staff, the goal is deeply personal — because their children were diagnosed with cancer. Read on for thoughts from these moms on what Mother’s Day means to them, what they’ve learned about motherhood through the good times and bad, and how childhood cancer has changed their lives forever.

St. Baldrick’s staff members and cancer moms from left to right: Robyn with her son Keaton, Nancy with her son, Scott, and Vanessa with her daughter, Aubrey.

Danielle

Danielle and Mason

Danielle holds her son Mason, who was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in 2006. A force to be reckoned with, the little boy faced his cancer with stalwart determination and his signature stubbornness. Mason died in 2007.

Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me. I will always be a mom to three boys. I just do not have one here with me because cancer took Mason’s life from us. Mother’s Day reminds me of Mason’s laughter, competitive nature, his love for his brother and the family we had. I am Mason’s mom. Cancer made me do things to my son I never imagined I would have to do to my child to get him to survive. Cancer taught me how to be a fierce advocate for my child. Cancer made me live my worst moments as a mom and some of the best. Cancer taught me I had to take care of and protect all my kids, not just the one who was sick. Cancer broke my heart. But being a mom to Mason, Mateo, and Marcus puts my heart back together every day.

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Kathleen’s Desk

The Best Mother’s Day Gift is Funding Childhood Cancer Research

by Kathleen Ruddy, CEO, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 12, 2018

This Mother’s Day, St. Baldrick’s CEO Kathleen Ruddy reflects on the strength of the moms of kids with cancer, the gifts they give every day, and what we can do to give back.

Ambassador Julia and her mom

Ambassador Julia cuddles with her mom, Melissa. When she was 8 years old, Julia was diagnosed with a grade 2 ependymoma in her brain. After many tough treatments, she’s now stable.

Over the years that I’ve worked at St. Baldrick’s, I’ve met thousands of cancer moms. I have cheered with them when times were good and I have ached for them when times were bad. Most of all, I look at these strong women and I am inspired. These women are dragon slayers. They are rocks – steady, stable and present. They are advocates and warriors, fighting for their child’s best interest, and at the same time, trying to keep their own fears at bay. These women are thrust into the role of nurse and teacher and therapist. They are master jugglers, balancing career and relationships and home and hospital.

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Advocacy

Action Days 2018: Families Speak Up For Kids With Cancer on Capitol Hill

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 10, 2018

More than 200 childhood cancer advocates, including St. Baldrick’s families and Honored Kids, joined the Alliance for Childhood Cancer’s 7th Annual Childhood Cancer Action Days on April 23-24.

Group Photo

This two-day event in Washington, D.C. brought advocates to Capitol Hill to share their stories and thank their representatives for:

  • Passing the STAR Act unanimously in the Senate — the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill ever introduced to Congress
  • Approving a $3 billion increase for medical research at the NIH
  • Approving the RACE Act to encourage the development of new drugs to treat childhood cancer

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Childhood Cancer

Congrats to Dr. Alex Kentsis, St. Baldrick’s Arceci Innovation Award Winner!

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 2, 2018

Pediatric oncologist and scientist Dr. Alex Kentsis isn’t afraid to dig into what makes childhood cancer tick, especially if his hard work results in better treatments for kids with cancer. That’s why he’s our newest winner of the St. Baldrick’s 2018 Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award – a unique three-year, $250,000 grant that gives researchers the freedom to follow the science, without the restrictions of traditional grants. Read on to learn about the innovative work he’s already doing for kids with cancer and how the Arceci award will move his promising research forward.

Dr. Alex Kentsis in the lab

Dr. Alex Kentsis is a pediatric oncologist and scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a father of two and the newest Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award winner. Unlike traditional grants which come with restrictions and are specific and constrained in their scope, this three-year, $250,000 grant allows researchers the freedom and flexibility to follow their passion for kids’ cancer research, their curiosity and the science, wherever it leads.

Dr. Kentsis is a big fan of asking, ‘Why?’ – especially when it comes to the fundamental nature of childhood cancer. Unlike adults, kids haven’t had time to damage their DNA. They haven’t aged, smoked or stayed out in the sun too long — so why do they get cancer?

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Childhood Cancer

Mother’s Day Contest: Show Us Your #BestBaldMom

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 1, 2018

Moms are the best. Especially moms who shave their heads to help take childhood back from cancer!

Best Bald Mom 2018

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and we want to give some extra love to all the awesome moms who’ve given up their hair to raise money for kids’ cancer research.

Today until May 6, show us your #BestBaldMom photos for a chance to win St. Baldrick’s swag and a limited edition, co-branded St. Baldrick’s + Love Your Melon beanie!

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Events and Fundraisers

12-Year-Old Superstar Shaves for the Eighth Year to Fundraise for Kids With Cancer

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 26, 2018
Hunter shakes his long hair ahead of his eighth shave

Hunter tosses his long hair before his eighth shave with St. Baldrick’s. He’s been growing it all year in preparation for the barber’s chair.

Hunter first shaved his head with St. Baldrick’s in 2011, when he was in Pre-K. He was just 5 years old and already knew what he wanted to do – he wanted to help kids with cancer.

“He had this cute little crew cut and he was rubbing his hair,” his mom, Jenn, remembered. “We told him we were all proud of him and after that, he was like, ‘Every year I want to do this for the sick kids.’”

And that’s exactly what this 12-year-old has been doing.

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