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

Promising Grant for Childhood Cancer Research Given in Honor of Two St. Baldrick’s Ambassadors

Webster, Texas – The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, is proud to announce Double Deckers Destroy AML, a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund, created in honor of St. Baldrick’s Ambassadors Seth and Joel Decker will support lifesaving childhood cancer research.

Dr. Shannon Conneely is a St. Baldrick’s Fellow and instructor of pediatrics in hematology and oncology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Her promising research is being supported by the “Double Deckers Destroy AML” Hero Fund and focuses on identifying a better treatment option for kids diagnosed with a type of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) called core binding factor AML (CBF-AML).

Acute myeloid leukemia is the second most common blood cancer in children and is difficult to cure. About one quarter of children with AML have the CBF-AML type. Despite intense therapy, cancer will come back in one out of three children with CBF-AML. Dr. Conneely and her colleagues are working to find new ways to treat this common form of AML by learning how the specific combination of mutations in the cancer cells affect their ability to grow and survive. The project is studying how specific mutations contribute to CBF-AML cells’ development, growth, and survival using cancer cells with these unique mutations. This will help in understanding how this type of AML develops, and may lead to new ways to treat children with this disease.

“We are very excited for the Double Deckers Destroy AML to be funding a grant. It has always been our intent to honor Joel and Seth by funding AML research – our way of fighting this nasty disease,” said Will and Natalie Decker, Seth and Joel’s parents. “We have a special connection with this grant, as the researcher, Dr. Shannon Conneely, cared for Joel and Seth when they were in the hospital. We couldn’t have realized this goal without the help of our family, friends and donors. We are very grateful.”

Joel and Seth were not only identical twins, but best friends. In an ironic twist of fate, both boys were diagnosed with AML just three months apart. With the overlapping diagnoses and treatments, the family was separated for months at a time and looked forward to days when they could be together at home. Joel and Seth both received bone marrow transplants and endured complications from the procedures. Sadly, both boys relapsed. Surrounded by their loving family, Joel died in November 2017 at the age of three, followed by Seth in May 2019 when he was four years old. The twins were named as 2020 Ambassadors for St. Baldrick’s so their story can continue to inspire many.

The Double Deckers Destroy AML Hero Fund was established because the Decker family strongly believes more research is needed for AML, especially when the disease has relapsed. They want to support research so other families won’t have to say goodbye too soon.

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 and Seth and Joel’s story, visit their Hero Fund page that can be found at StBaldricks.org.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation
Every 2 minutes a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of pediatric cancer research grants, is on a mission to defy childhood cancers by supporting the most promising research to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. When you give to St. Baldrick’s, you don’t just give to one institution–you give to virtually every institution treating kids with cancer across the U.S. and beyond. As a leader in the pediatric cancer community, St. Baldrick’s works tirelessly to ensure that current and future children diagnosed with cancer will have access to the most cutting-edge treatment from the best leaders in the pediatric oncology field. Join us at StBaldricks.org and help #DFYchildhoodCancers.