Champions Needed: The Future of Childhood Cancer Research is at Stake

by Kathleen Ruddy, CEO, St. Baldrick's Foundation
March 17, 2017

This week the St. Baldrick’s Foundation calls to your attention two urgent challenges.

First, the new federal budget proposal calls for a cut of nearly 20% for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest funding source for childhood cancer research.

We are encouraged to see so many of our champions — both on Capitol Hill and across America — speaking out already about the importance of continuing to support research to find cures for diseases that strike both adults and children.

YOU can be an advocate for kids with cancer by supporting the STAR Act >

Most new cancer drugs begin with research funded by the NIH, and this is especially true for childhood cancers. About 60% of drug development funding for adult cancers comes from the biopharmaceutical industry. Since there is little financial incentive for companies to develop drugs for the cancers that strike children and teens, the loss of any federal research funding is all the more devastating.

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the nation’s next largest funder of childhood cancer research grants, and that brings us to this week’s second big challenge.

At age 4, 2016 Ambassador Phineas was diagnosed with chemo-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Today, he’s a cancer-free boy. Find out how an immunotherapy trial supported by St. Baldrick’s saved Phineas’ life.

The week of St. Patrick’s Day is the most active time of year for St. Baldrick’s volunteers and donors. The recent winter storms hit a large area of the country at a time when every day of fundraising matters most.

On Tuesday morning my first waking thought was whether the snow and ice causing so much distress to people across the country could also cost the lives of childhood cancer patients for years to come.

If impactful research projects go unfunded due to a dip in fundraising, lives that could have been saved might not be.

So this week I urge you to do two things:

1) Continue to speak out in support of strong funding for the National Institutes of Health,

2) Support your favorite St. Baldrick’s participant — or become one yourself — before early June, when we must choose which research projects we can fund and which we cannot.

If you don’t know one of the tens of thousands of brave souls shaving their heads this week, consider supporting  innovative research for kids with cancer, in memory of the great Dr. Bob Arceci.

Thank you for being such incredible champions for children with cancer and their families!

Learn more about how you can help find cures for kids with cancer.

How to Help

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