Families

Meet Kellan

by Avis Matsuda, St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 2, 2018
Kellan in his wheelchair

With an irresistible laugh and the face of a cherub, 5-year-old Kellan wins the hearts of everyone he meets. No one even notices his wheelchair.

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Events and Fundraisers

Giving Back in Honor of Adam

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 21, 2017

Adam Rosowicz once told his wife that he’d give his life if it would save one kid with cancer. Now, thanks to his love for St. Baldrick’s and others’ love for him, the long-time shavee and his family are saving countless lives. Since Adam’s passing in June from cancer, the St. Baldrick’s memorial page established in his honor has raised $30,000 – and counting – to fund childhood cancer research and help kids live long, healthy lives.

Adam and Christine share a kiss after a shave

Adam and Christine, married for 21 years, share a kiss during a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event.

When Adam Rosowicz was in college, he worked multiple jobs to help his parents with the cost of tuition. When he was renovating a house with his wife, Christine, he would run wires at night, so she wouldn’t be without electricity during the day. And year after year, he would sit down in the St. Baldrick’s barber’s chair with a smile on his face, a beer in his hand and zero hesitation. That was the kind of man he was. Generous, hardworking and kind, Adam put everyone else before himself.

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Kathleen’s Desk

Appreciating the Gifts of 2017 and Looking to a Bright Future

by Kathleen Ruddy, CEO, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 19, 2017

If you’re like me, you often have to remind yourself to slow down and appreciate the here and now.  It seems everything in modern life encourages us to focus on tomorrow. Stores promote Christmas shopping while children select Halloween costumes, and those same children spend their childhoods awaiting summer vacation or anticipating their next school year.

Kathleen Ruddy

During the holiday season, St. Baldrick’s CEO Kathleen Ruddy likes to reflect on the blessings of the past year.

Sometimes I feel I’m wishing my life away, which is why I appreciate the season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day so much. It’s one of the few times we officially take stock of our blessings, treasure our time with those we love, and encourage each other to reflect upon the past year.

Usually, I’m most grateful for the things that are new, like the approval of Kymriah, a CAR T cell therapy for kids with a particular type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and the first gene therapy approved in the United States. Given to children with few or even no treatment options for their cancer, this St. Baldrick’s-supported therapy is effective in 83% of the children who receive it – children who can now celebrate the holidays and the promise of a future thanks to research supported by St. Baldrick’s.

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Facts

A Peek Behind the Scenes: The St. Baldrick’s Grant and Scientific Review Process

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 18, 2017
St. Baldrick's researchers

Top: St. Baldrick’s researcher Akiko Shimamura (left) in her lab with a colleague at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. During her St. Baldrick’s-supported study, Dr. Shimamura studied a rare group of inherited bone marrow disorders that are associated with heightened risk of cancer. Bottom: Based at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, St. Baldrick’s researcher Scott Kachlany tested a new therapeutic agent for kids with ALL during his St. Baldrick’s-supported study.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation makes a bold statement: We support the most promising childhood cancer research, wherever it takes place.  And because we grant more childhood cancer research than any non-government funder, it’s crucial that those dollars go to the right projects. But how do we pick the right projects?

Rising to that challenge is a widely respected grant application and scientific review process created by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

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Families

Researcher Works to Crack the DIPG Code with Help from McKenna Claire

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 15, 2017
McKenna Claire was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with DIPG

McKenna Claire was 7 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called DIPG. The McKenna Claire Foundation was established in her memory and in 2013, St. Baldrick’s partnered with the McKenna Claire Foundation to fund DIPG research, like the work done by Dr. Rameen Beroukhim at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Honored Kid McKenna Claire was bright, spirited, and loved soccer and gymnastics. McKenna was full of grace, joy and grit through it all, even as her childhood cancer progressed and she could no longer run across a soccer field, jump on a trampoline, talk or swallow. She died just six months after her diagnosis with a rare, fatal type of brain tumor called DIPG  – weeks before her birthday. She would have been 8 years old.

Learn more about McKenna and her cancer journey from her mom, Kristine >

Stories like this are why St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Rameen Beroukhim studies DIPG, otherwise known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. In fact, McKenna’s photograph hangs in his lab.

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Families

Research Saved Ori’s Life

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 5, 2017

You helped save a child’s life. Meet Honored Kid Ori. He is in remission, because of a research breakthrough supported by St. Baldrick’s – and generous donors like you. Read on to learn more about this amazing kid and why he and his family are thankful for YOU.

Ori smiles during treatment

Ori amazed his parents with his strength and positive attitude, even after years of treatment.

When Ori’s parents were packing to go to the hospital for the first visit – the first of many – they told the 2-year-old boy that they were going on an adventure.

And that’s how both he and his family have viewed his cancer journey ever since.

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Do What You Want

9 Ways You Can Help Kids With Cancer in December

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 1, 2017

Ah, the holiday season. We know fundraising might not be at the front of your mind during the busy holiday season, but you can easily raise money for kids’ cancer research with fun holiday activities that are sure to get you into a festive mood. Check out these 9 ideas below.

Ambassador Alan gets a kiss from Santa

2014 Ambassador Alan gets a kiss from Santa Claus during a special photo shoot, a month before he passed away. The 5-year-old fought childhood cancer for most of his life after being diagnosed with a rare sarcoma in his hip.

1) Ditch the gift exchange!

Turn your company holiday party into a fundraiser. Instead of buying gifts, ask co-workers to “fill the stocking” with donations, pay for entry into the “Ugly Sweater” contest or create your own fun activity. Then see if your company will match your contributions!

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Families

Fighting Cancer with Grace: The Story of the Ninja Princess

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 28, 2017

First comes Black Friday. Then Cyber Monday. Then, on November 28, it’s #GivingTuesday, the day when people around the world give back. This year, our face of Giving Tuesday is Honored Kid Grace – AKA the Ninja Princess. Why is she jazzed about raising critical funds for research? Maybe because researchers are cancer-fighting ninjas just like her!

Honored Kid Grace in her hospital bed

7-year-old Honored Kid Grace loves everything pink, frilly and powerful. She’s been learning karate since this summer and recently earned her orange belt, even after relapsing with cancer.

When she relapsed in August, Grace’s first question to her mom, Melissa, was a question no parent ever wants to hear.

The 7-year-old asked, “Will I die?”

“‘No,’ we told her, because we were going to fight the cancer,” Melissa recalled. “‘Good,’ she said, ‘because I want to grow up and get married and be a mom.’”

Rightly known as the ‘Ninja Princess,’ Grace Ellen has fought for most of her life. Her parents affectionately call her their ‘alpha female,’ because, as her mom said, “she’s always known who she is, what she likes, and she doesn’t let anything get in her way. Not even cancer.”

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Childhood Cancer

Your 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Presents That Give Back to Childhood Cancer Research

by Kristine Malicse, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 27, 2017

Stuck on what to give someone this holiday season? Give them the gift that gives back! Check out the great presents that help fund childhood cancer research.

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Families

Kymriah’s Journey From Lab to Lifesaver: The Phase 1 Trial [Part Two]

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 22, 2017

Over a series of four blogs — read the first blog here — we are tracing the path of Kymriah, a recent immunotherapy and gene therapy breakthrough for kids with high-risk leukemia, like Honored Kid Austin. This 9-year-old pioneer was one of the first patients to receive this revolutionary type of CAR T cell therapy, which was made possible because of the hard work of the St. Baldrick’s – Stand Up To Cancer Dream Team.


Continuing from Part One, Austin’s bone marrow transplant has failed and we find his parents at a dead end in terms of treatment options — until a ray of light appears.

Austin in his hospital bed

During his treatment, Austin always just wanted to be a kid. After finishing a chemotherapy and radiation treatment, he’d often joyfully run out to his backyard to play on the swings.

The options were few and the stakes were huge, but the choice was clear for Austin’s parents. With their 4-year-old son months away from death, they had to choose hope – hope in the form of a clinical trial testing a promising gene therapy called Kymriah.

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