The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has always been committed to innovation. As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants in the world, it will be no surprise that we fund innovative science, but our commitment extends beyond that.
As part of our strategic plan, we challenged ourselves to find new innovative ways that we could partner with donors in order to help them realize their goals and get more dollars working to find better treatments and cures. We developed our own “venture philanthropy” program, one that allows a donor, or a group working together, to target in what they want to fund with more specificity and involvement than we have ever been able to do before.
The first group to join us in this new effort was the Osteosarcoma Collaborative. Led by Michael Egge, father to Olivia (who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February 2017), and current St. Baldrick’s Foundation board chair, Katherine Lugar, the Osteosarcoma Collaborative had a clear vision about what they wanted to accomplish through their fundraising and partnership with St. Baldrick’s. They wanted to fund research that needed support to push it over the finishing line – something that was very close to being ready to be put in a clinical trial and was specific to osteosarcoma research.Michael Egge, founding member of the Osteosarcoma Collaborative, sought to raise awareness and improve treatments and outcomes for children with osteosarcoma when daughter, Olivia, was diagnosed in February 2017.
What do researchers Dr. Alex Huang and Dr. Carl Allen have in common? Passion, curiosity, drive, brilliant ideas, a desire to help kids — the list goes on! And now there’s something else. They are both recipients of the first St. Baldrick’s Innovation Award. What do they want to do with this unique grant? Read on to find out.
Dr. Carl Allen (left) is an associate professor at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and one of the investigators involved in the North American Consortium for Histiocytosis (NACHO), which received a St. Baldrick’s Consortium Grant. St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Alex Huang (right) is a professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a 10-time shavee with St. Baldrick’s.
St. Baldrick’s researchers Dr. Alex Huang and Dr. Carl Allen work on different projects, in different labs about 1,300 miles away from each other.
Dr. Huang primarily studies how immunotherapy can help kids with cancer, while Dr. Allen studies Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis or LCH, which is caused by out-of-control immature white blood cells. The disorder can cause inflammatory tumors, damage organs and even cause brain degeneration in some patients.
The two researchers may work in different areas on different projects, but since the start of their careers in medicine, they’ve shared a goal — to help sick kids get better. And now they have something else in common.
Dr. Noah Federman first decided to become a doctor because he wanted to help people. Mission accomplished, Dr. Federman. Over his years as a physician, he’s helped countless children with cancer, including cancer survivors like 2013 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Emily. Read on for more about Dr. Federman, his St. Baldrick’s Scholar award and what he envisions for the future of childhood cancer research.
Dr. Noah Federman meets with a patient.
Dr. Noah Federman first met Emily back at the very beginning, soon after she discovered a persistent bump on her right leg — the first sign of a bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
The St. Baldrick’s Scholar has been there for Emily ever since, through the ups and downs of treatment, through her surgery and even now during survivorship, as she prepares to celebrate five years cancer free.
It’s a proud moment for Dr. Federman.
He became a doctor to make a difference in the lives of children like Emily — to help them beat cancer, get out of the hospital, and grow up healthy and happy.
Today is National Cancer Survivors Day and in celebration, we are bringing you the survivorship story of 2013 Ambassador Emily, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma as a 16-year-old. Now nearing five years cancer free, she’s a huge advocate for kids’ cancer research. She wants to see all kids with cancer leave the childhood cancer world behind — for good. Read on for more about Emily, her treatment and its effects, and what it’s like to be a survivor.
Emily in 2013, during her treatment for cancer (left) and Emily last month (right) in New York City, which she’s made her home after graduating from New York University.
Emily lives in two worlds.
In one, she just graduated from New York University, is cruising the Adriatic Sea over the summer, and snagged her dream job in television production.
The other world is different.
On National Sibling Day, meet Josh Aguilera, a brother and St. Baldrick’s shavee who made his sister’s dreams come true on one of the last nights of her life. Because what does a big brother do to make his sister happy? Get suited up in a tuxedo and ask her to prom, of course.
Janea, in the red dress, beams at the camera with her brother, Josh, on prom night.
Like many teenage girls, Honored Kid Janea Aguilera dreamt of her high school prom. What dress would she wear? Who would ask her to go? Did she have a shot at being crowned Prom Queen?
But when she was in eighth grade, Janea was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone.
Today marks the end of an era for Joe Bartlett and Chuck Chamness as they complete their terms on our board of directors. Read 2012 Ambassador Sarah’s heartfelt letter thanking them for all the hard work they’ve dedicated to kids with cancer.
Joe Bartlett (left) and Chuck Chamness hold their goodbye gifts at their final St. Baldrick’s board meeting.
Dear Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Chamness,
I want to thank you for all you have done as members of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s board of directors.
When it came time to talk about surgery for bone cancer, 9-year-old Honored Kid Elise took charge. Read on to learn about Elise’s cancer journey, the decision she made, and how she’s moving forward with her life.
Wise beyond her years, 9-year-old Elise has been a full participant in her treatment decisions.
Nine-year-old Elise has some advice for any kid facing a big, tough decision.
“It’s your decision,” she said. “It’s your life.”
Elise knows all about making life-changing decisions. When it came time to choose the best surgery to rid her right leg of bone cancer, it was Elise who spoke up first.
2013 Ambassador Emily is living it up in the Big Apple as a student at New York University. Meanwhile, her mom is on the other side of the country in California. Despite the distance, Emily made sure her mom is feeling loved for Mother’s Day — read Emily’s touching letter below.
Emily and her mom have a close relationship.
First off, happy Mother’s Day! I love you so much, which I hope you already know. I hope you can understand how difficult it is for me to write this letter because you (and Dad and Max) mean more to me than everything in the world.
Cierra Walsh was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her right femur on March 19, 2014. She went through nine months of chemotherapy and four surgeries on her leg. Now, the 15-year-old has a strong voice for kids with cancer — read what she has to say about it.
Cierra, surrounded by her friends, poses with her newly shaved head.
People often say that the three most important words in the English language are “I love you.”
But my life experience suggests something different. The three most important words to me are “you have cancer.”
Everything in my life has been changed by those three simple words.
St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Wendy Rhoades has developed a new tool that could save lives — a blood test that can detect whether a patient has bone cancer. Read on for more about her incredible work and how it could help kids with cancer.
Dr. Wendy Rhoades works in the lab at Texas Children’s Hospital.
What if a simple blood test could detect childhood cancer?
That’s exactly what Dr. Wendy Rhoades is looking into with her St. Baldrick’s-funded research.
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