In the St. Baldrick’s Foundation community, John Bender has been a catalyst for raising funds in support of lifesaving childhood cancer research and clinical trials.
In 1999, he was one of three reinsurance executives – along with Tim Kenny and Enda McDonnell – who made head shaving part of their mission to find better treatments and eventually a cure for kids’ cancers. Today, as a co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, John remains a major part of the organization and an inspiration to those who have taken up this vital cause.
That’s why, with the twentieth year of head shaving upon us, we asked John to share his thoughts on two decades of fighting childhood cancers.
It might seem that Department of Defense technology that’s used to detect explosives might not have any use in diagnosing childhood cancers. But, if you ask St. Baldrick’s Foundation “Rockstar Researcher” Dr. Bruce Shiramizu, this technology has real potential to help patients, parents, caregivers, and the cancer community.
It’s why this Hawaii-based doctor, who has worked on the mainland at the University of California San Francisco and at the National Institutes of Health, is so passionate about his research work and what it might be able to do for children throughout the world. This veteran researcher has shaved his head multiple times for St. Baldrick’s – that’s one definition of a “Rockstar Researcher” – and his body of work speaks volumes.
It’s time once again to join the fight against childhood cancers by funding research and clinical trials that can stop this disease from taking more lives.
You may be a past participant or someone who’s been on the fence about joining a head-shave event. Regardless of your past involvement, we urge you to join our fight to take childhood back from cancer.
For the 11th consecutive year, Dr. Alex Huang will be shaving his head for kids’ cancer research. A pediatric oncologist and professor at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Angie Fowler AYA Cancer Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, he’s no stranger to the fight against childhood cancers.
In fact, as an accomplished cancer fighter who’s dedicated time – and hair! – to helping raise money for childhood cancer research, he’s the very definition of a “Rockstar Shavee”.
Dr. Alex Huang, winner of a St. Baldrick’s Innovation Award, will shave his head for an 11th time this year.
The League of Legendary Heroes is an order of dedicated volunteers who’ve participated in St. Baldrick’s Foundation events for three or more years. Each year, St. Baldrick’s names a League Champion to lead and inspire this group to raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research.
Georgia Moore, our newest League Champion of the League of Legendary Heroes, just celebrated her 19th birthday on Dec. 30. The following day, New Year’s Eve, marked nine years since Georgia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Our 2019 League Champion, Georgia Moore (third from left), appears with her family at Tufts University.
Each year, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation picks five kids to serve as Ambassadors. In this role, they represent the thousands of kids affected by childhood cancers and remind us of the importance of supporting childhood cancer research.
Take any group of kids and they’ll all have their own way of talking, their own opinions on books, movies, and video games, their own favorite foods.
But there is one thing the St. Baldrick’s 2019 Ambassadors have in common: childhood cancers. Beyond that, they share the support of loving families and a desire to inspire others to raise money for childhood cancer research.
Our 2019 Ambassadors, from left to right: Aiden, Arianna, Sullivan, Gabby, and Brooke.
A new drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is great news for childhood cancer patients.
The drug – known as larotrectnib, or Vitrakvi – is the first developed to target a key genetic driver of cancer, rather than a specific type of tumor. In this case, the drug targets a gene fusion called NTRK, found in some patients with many different types of cancer.
Dr. Federman, a St. Baldrick’s Scholar from 2009 to 2014, was directly involved in Vitrakvi’s development.
Each year, St. Baldrick’s encourages volunteers and donors to participate in Sweepstakes. Those who meet the requirements have a chance to win an exciting weeklong vacation to an exotic location. This year, St. Baldrick’s is excited to announce that the winner of the 2019 Sweepstakes will choose from vacations for two to Japan or Iceland, and a Disney family cruise for four. Register now for a chance to win. Full details available here.
When Mark Silvius entered St. Baldrick’s Sweepstakes 2018, he didn’t think it would result in him being whisked away to Tahiti. He just wanted to support St. Baldrick’s and childhood cancer research – a cause he’s backed for eight years now.
With 2018 winding down, it’s time to thank this year’s St. Baldrick’s Ambassadors for their help raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research. This group of five kids and their families inspired us with their unique stories of courage and their refusal to give up hope.
We’ll be welcoming a new group of Ambassadors in the new year. For now, let’s check in on the 2018 team to see how they’re doing and what they enjoyed about the Ambassador experience.
Our 2018 Ambassadors, from left: Brooks, Kellan, Maya, Zach, and Julia.
The St. Baldrick’s Speak Up for Kids’ Cancer advocates played an instrumental role in facilitating monumental legislative achievements for kids with cancer in 2018.
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