Childhood Cancer

How a Pediatric Oncologist and 10-Time Shavee Is Fighting Childhood Cancers

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 8, 2018

Pediatric oncologist Dr. Tom McLean of Wake Forest Baptist Health has been awarded one of 29 new 2018 Infrastructure Grants from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

For more than a decade, Dr. McLean has been participating in head-shaving events with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. That’s right – not only does Dr. McLean help fight cancer at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C., he’s also one of many researchers who help raise money for childhood cancer research by having his own head shaved clean.

It’s a fact the friendly doctor laughs off by pointing out he doesn’t have a lot of hair to shave away in the first place.

“The first time I shaved my head, I was nervous,” Dr. McLean joked. “But then I did it, and I quickly realized, you know, it’s not that big of a deal – my hair is pretty short anyways.”

Dr. Tom McLean, winner of a 2018 Infrastructure Grant, has shaved his head for St. Baldrick's 10 times.

Dr. Tom McLean, winner of a 2018 Infrastructure Grant, has shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s 10 times.

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Childhood Cancer

Bombarding Ependymomas with a “Giant Army of Cancer Fighters”

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 5, 2018

An ependymoma is a cancerous tumor that emerges in the brain or anywhere along the spine, from the neck all the way down to the lower back. These tiny tumors take shape in cells found in the spinal cord or the brain’s ventricles, cavities that contain fluid responsible for cushioning our brain and preventing injury.

Ependymomas tend to start out very small and grow slowly over time – sometimes many years – meaning they can be hard to catch. Early symptoms range from seizures to headaches and blurry vision. Because there are many other conditions with these same symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose ependymomas, especially in kids, who may have trouble explaining how the issue affects them.

Dr. Kohanbash’s St. Baldrick’s grant is supported by a Hero Fund in memory of Henry Cermak, who passed away in 2008 after a long, 2-year fight that included many surgeries, chemo regimens, and 93 rounds of radiation.

Dr. Kohanbash’s St. Baldrick’s grant is supported by a Hero Fund in memory of Henry Cermak, who passed away in 2008 after a long, 2-year fight that included many surgeries, chemo regimens, and 93 rounds of radiation.

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Childhood Cancer

When Research Offers Hope, Parents Continue to Advance the Mission

by Carlos Sandi, Dream Team Patient Advocate
October 23, 2018

I was recently invited to serve as a patient family advocate for the St. Baldrick’s / Stand Up to Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team representing the National Cancer Institute. If you’re not familiar with the Dream Team and what they’re doing, it’s worth taking a few minutes to read up on the project.

In short, it’s a multi-institutional effort to accelerate cures for childhood cancer by sharing the skill, knowledge and unique resources of 8 top-notch research institutions.

Carlos Sandi with his son, Phineas

Carlos Sandi with his son, Honored Kid and Ambassador Phineas.

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Childhood Cancer

St. Baldrick’s Scholar Targets Kids’ Cancer Caused by Growth Disorder

by Robyn Raphael
October 23, 2018

Imagine being born with an oversized tongue that makes breathing and eating a constant chore. Imagine starting life with an oversized pancreas that pumps an excessive amount of insulin, creating a wide range of unexpected health issues.

In fact, try to imagine being born with an abnormally large organ of any kind – tongue, liver, kidneys – and how this might affect your life.

Children with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, otherwise known as BWS, live with these challenges every day. And it’s not the only health concern they face.

They’re also at a much higher risk of developing childhood cancer.

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Events and Fundraisers

Employee Giving: How You and Your Employer Can Help Kids with Cancer

by Robyn Raphael, St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 18, 2018

It’s October again, which means kids across the country will be gearing up for another exciting Halloween. But did you know that October is also the month when many organizations help their employees with charitable donations?

That’s right – within many company cultures, October is known as “employee giving month”. It’s a great way to generate more revenue for your favorite charity – like the St. Baldrick’s Foundation!

This October, ask your employer for more information about some of the following popular fundraising options – it could make the difference in helping fund vital clinical trials investigating childhood cancers.

Group photo of Wireless Vision employees

Wireless Vision employees know it takes vision to conquer childhood cancers. Through their company-wide campaign, six Wireless Vision locations hosted St. Baldrick’s signature head-shaving events and raised over $43,000!

Matching Gifts

A growing number of organizations are offering to match the charitable donations made by their employees, effectively doubling their total contribution. That said, some employers may take things a step further by matching gifts at a higher ratio, like 2:1, 3:1, even 4:1 – in essence, it’s possible that for every dollar you contribute, your employer may double, triple, even quadruple your offering!

Please keep in mind that every organization has its own gift-matching policy, so consider asking your human resources representative for more information about how this is handled at your company. You can also use our matching gifts tool to see what’s available at your organization.

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Meet Dr. Elliot Stieglitz

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 11, 2018

St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Elliot Stieglitz is a big reader, but not in the way that you might think. Over three years, he read the DNA of one hundred children with JMML, a rare leukemia, and he discovered something major. Read on to learn how his discovery could lead to better treatments for kids with this rare disease.

RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT: Dr. Elliot Stieglitz has brought his St. Baldrick’s-funded research to a Phase 2 clinical trial for kids with relapsed JMML. In this trial, which is first of its kind in the United States, researchers will be testing whether an oral targeted medication used in the treatment of melanoma in adults slows or even kills leukemia cells in kids with persistent JMML. In addition, Dr. Stieglitz developed a test that predicts which JMML patients have the best prognosis and therefore need less intense therapy. He’s now in the process of establishing a clinical test that will eventually be available to patients. This test will help kids get just the treatment they need and avoid damaging long-term effects from harsh therapies. Keep up the great work, Dr. Stieglitz!


For St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Elliot Stieglitz, being a pediatric oncologist is the perfect blend of emotional satisfaction and intellectual stimulation.

His heart is with the kids and their families, guiding them through the toughest time in their lives. His head is in the lab, trying to find better treatments for childhood cancer.

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What Is Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML)?

by Elliot Stieglitz, M.D.
October 11, 2018
What is JMML

Dr. Elliot Stieglitz is a St. Baldrick’s Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. He’s researching ways to help kids with JMML who don’t respond to standard treatment. He explains JMML symptoms, treatment options, and how your support is moving research forward.

What is JMML?

Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a type of blood cancer that affects young children.

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Fundraising Tips

Double Your Donation With a Matching Gift [Q&A]

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 9, 2018

Give the gift that keeps on giving by participating in our matching gift program!

Matching Gift Banner

Did you know that more than 15 million employees work for companies that offer matching gift programs? That means your donation may be eligible to be doubled (or even tripled!) to fund lifesaving pediatric cancer research.

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One Sibling Was Diagnosed with a Brain Tumor and Then the Unthinkable Happened

by Erinn Jessop
October 9, 2018

Kalea and Noah snuggle in one hospital bed during treatment.

From waking up in the morning to getting tucked in at night, siblings Noah and Kalea were practically inseparable.

They’d eat their breakfast together – whatever 6-year-old Kalea had, 4-year-old Noah wanted too – and brush their teeth together. The two kids would get so immersed in playing together, and so quiet, that their parents, Duncan and Nohea, would get nervous and go check on them. Inevitably, the adults would interrupt some elaborate imaginary adventure and the kids would shoo them away.

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Do What You Want

10 Ways You Can Help Kids With Cancer in October

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 4, 2018

Happy October! Fall is here, harvest season is upon us and Halloween is creeping around the corner. It’s the perfect time to help kids with cancer. Check out these 10 creative ways to fund childhood cancer research while the leaves are falling.

October Fundraiser

Who loved fall? 2014 Ambassador Alan, that’s who! His favorite holiday was Halloween, because he liked walking around his neighborhood and trick-or-treating. What can you do to help kids with cancer during Alan’s favorite time of year? Read on to find out!

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