• Press Release
  • For Immediate Release
  • Media Contact:
    • Michele Franco
    • 626.792.8247 ext. 264
    • michele.franco@stbaldricks.org

Funding Hope for To-Morrow’s Survivors

Gulfport, Miss. – The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, is proud to announce the To-morrow’s Research Fund, a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund, created in honor of Rebecca Morrow from Waynesville, Mo., will support lifesaving childhood cancer research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Wendy Bottinor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center was named the recipient of the “To-morrow’s Research Fund St. Baldrick’s Scholar” grant to support her research aimed to help childhood cancer survivors live healthier lives. Dr. Bottinor will use cardiac imaging techniques to identify survivors with subclinical cardiovascular dysfunction before they develop overt heart disease. She plans to use this imaging to detect cardiovascular disease at its earliest stages, when treatment is most likely to be effective.

According to a study supported by St. Baldrick’s, by age 50 more than 99% of childhood cancer survivors have had a chronic health problem – like loss of hearing, sight or limbs – and 96% have experienced severe or life-threatening conditions, including secondary cancers, heart problems and more.

Rebecca “Becky” Morrow was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) in August 1996 at 12 years old. She went through three years of grueling treatments, most of which were cancer causing themselves, or had horrible side effects. In between the chemotherapy treatments, Becky received countless transfusions, cranial radiation, spinal taps, she developed shingles, lost her hair twice, and every fever that was over 100 was a life-threatening emergency.

Through it all, Becky survived, graduated from high school, moved to California for college, where she met her husband. Becky has been disease free for 20 years, yet she suffers from many latent effects – severe back pain and difficulty in childbirth due to multiple spinal taps and intrathecal chemotherapy, shingles, psoriasis, short term memory loss and more.

“My husband and I are so excited to be holding our third annual shaving event in our little town in western North Carolina, especially during this 20th anniversary year for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Our daughter, Rebecca Morrow, was diagnosed on August 19, 1996, and endured three grueling years of treatment that has not changed since the 1950s,” said Barbara Ritchey, Rebecca’s mom. “Now, 21 years after the completion of her treatment, she still suffers side effects caused by the chemotherapy and radiation her growing body had to endure. We formed the Hero Fund for Rebecca specifically to address the side effects nearly 95% of all childhood cancer survivors suffer for the rest of their lives. This year, To-Morrow’s Research Fund is funding critical research on the drug doxycyline—a drug Rebecca received early in her treatment–for the second year in a row, thanks to our generous community and supporters; Dr. Wendy Bottinor is the lead researcher in this effort. With her research, made possible by grants awarded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, childhood cancer survivors will hopefully have brighter future for their lifetime.”

Since 2007, this Hero Fund has raised more than $108,000 to support the most promising childhood cancer research. St. Baldrick’s Hero Funds are an ongoing way for friends, family members and groups to donate or raise funds to honor a loved one. To learn more about the program visit the St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund page.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation
As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is leading the charge to take childhood back from cancer. St. Baldrick’s funds some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best childhood cancer research, no matter where it takes place.