St. Baldrick’s Scholar Dr. Oren Becher is working to decrypt one of the most deadly and least understood childhood cancers — DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Thanks to diligent and brilliant work in the labs of research greats and a boost from St. Baldrick’s, Dr. Becher now has his own lab and his own team team dedicated to DIPG research. Together they’re determined to make a difference for kids with this currently incurable brain cancer.
Dr. Oren Becher recently moved to his own lab, where he studies DIPG in an effort to find a treatment for the deadly brain cancer.
At 9 years old, Madelyn Bougard was diagnosed with a rare and deadly type of childhood cancer. A fashionista with a big spirit and an equally big heart, Maddy was an inspiration to those around her. Her father, Jim, shaved for St. Baldrick’s in her memory at the Mickey Byrnes Irish Pub event in Hollywood, Florida. Honor Maddy by contributing to her dad’s shavee page.
Madelyn with her parents. The 9-year-old was diagnosed with an aggressive type of childhood cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, in 2010.
One day before church, Jim discovered that his daughter Madelyn had outgrown most of her wardrobe. But instead of dreading the trip to the department store as some guys might, he welcomed it.
The shopping trip meant his daughter was still growing — she was still alive.
‘Together We Are Better’: St. Baldrick’s and McKenna Claire Foundation Fund Pediatric Brain Tumor Research
The McKenna Claire Foundation is supporting a St. Baldrick’s research grant to help kids with brain tumors. Kristine, whose daughter McKenna died of a brain tumor, explains why. See all the 2014 Summer Grants.
Kristine with her daughter McKenna. McKenna was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January 2011 and died six months later.
Upon diagnosis, we were told that there was no hope for her survival and that the average life expectancy was 9-18 months. Because it is so rare, there had been little research done on this disease in the past 50 years, with virtually no change in treatment protocols or life expectancy.
For that reason, when we lost McKenna just six short months after diagnosis, we decided to do two things.
The first was to donate her tumor to Monje Lab at Stanford University, where a cell line was developed for use by researchers around the world. The second was to start a foundation in her name with the specific purpose of supporting progress in the field of pediatric brain cancer research.
Harold Zimmerman is the founder and CEO of Votre Vu, a beauty company specializing in botanically infused French skin care and custom-blended cosmetics. Check out Votre Vu’s French Accents collection, where $1 from every item purchased is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
This month, Votre Vu celebrates two years of the Color It Forward campaign to cure childhood cancers.
One child. That’s all it takes to grab your attention…and your heart. In my case, it was learning about a neighborhood child, Max Lacewell, who lost the fight with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) at age 6. After radiation and experimental chemotherapy, he was sent home with no other options. No other options.
Why? Because of a lack of research into pediatric cancers.
During Votre Vu’s first few years, we supported a myriad of charities, but one need stood out above the rest, and it had a name: Max.
Childhood Cancer Research Funded by McKenna Claire Foundation and St. Baldrick’s Foundation Partnership
By partnering with St. Baldrick’s, the McKenna Claire Foundation can “fund research that is close to our heart, while also benefiting from the resources of St. Baldrick’s to help the greater good,” says McKenna’s mom, Kristine.
We knew from the beginning that with a diagnosis of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), the prognosis for McKenna was dismal. We promised her that we would do everything within our power to help her “feel better.” Because we had amazing friends who had turned over every rock and researched every DIPG doctor and research facility in the world, we knew we had done our very best for our daughter, but that modern medicine had failed us. Not for lack of caring or lack of heart amongst the doctors, but for lack of funding which limited research and the possibility of answers.
As she took her last breaths, we promised McKenna we would do everything in our power to fight in her name and ensure that no other child or family would suffer as she did, as we do.
Donating McKenna’s tumor to provide opportunities to develop cell lines and advance research was our first step to fulfilling the promise we made to our girl, and in fighting back against the tumor that took our child. But, for us, it wasn’t enough.
From your very first day here on earth, you brought joy and laughter into our world. I love this picture of you because it embodies everything I think of when I think of you. You may have only been 2 weeks short of your 8th birthday when we lost you, but you already knew so much. You embraced life, loved to laugh, spent time with friends, explored the world, learned about new things.
From a young age, you knew what was important in life. You taught us so much in the short time you were here, and you continue to touch others and show them what is important, even though you are no longer physically present.
Macky, this day is the hardest to bear, and we all miss you so much. I want to be baking cupcakes and decorating the house, waiting for a gaggle of ten year old girls to come to a swim party. Instead, I sit in front of the computer, watching videos and looking at pictures of what was.
Crystal with her brother, Cole, who was diagnosed with childhood cancer at the age of 8.
One of the most powerful memories I have about my brother is how much we liked each other’s hair — mine was long and smooth, and his was short and fuzzy due to regular buzz cuts. He would always say how mine was the softest and silkiest in the entire world, and I would rub my hand over his fuzz, saying how nice and fuzzy his head was.
After he was diagnosed and put into treatment, parts of his hair fell out. The parts that stayed he grew long and curly to hide the bald spots that embarrassed me, even though they weren’t even mine.
My brother Cole was just 8 years old when he was diagnosed with DIPG, a type of childhood brain cancer that starts in the brain stem. He was sick for about a year until he passed away in 2006, when I was 11.
A lot about that time does not make any sense, and it made even less sense back then. But I knew I had to do something to fight against the disease that stole my brother away from life.
When Votre Vu founders Harold Zimmerman and Ann Brodette were approached in 2011 to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s 46 Momma’s Shave for the Brave (a group of moms of kids with cancer who were shaving their heads in honor of the 46 children who are diagnosed with cancer every weekday), they jumped at the chance.
Dr. Chow is a St. Baldrick’s Scholar studying brain tumors in children. He shares his experience treating a patient with DIPG, one of the deadliest types of childhood cancer.
Joshua was diagnosed with DIPG when he was 4.
When I first met 4-year-old Joshua, he was beginning the toughest battle of his young life. What struck me immediately that day was the look in his eyes that was not one of fear, but one that said, “I’m ready for this. Tell me what I need to do.”
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