Did you know only 4% of federal funding for cancer goes to childhood cancer research, despite the fact that childhood cancer kills more American children than any other disease? About 60% of all funding for the development of new drugs for adult cancer comes from pharmaceutical companies, but those companies provide almost no funding for kids because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable. The personal impact of this funding void is very real to my family every minute of every day.
I was reminded of the practical impact during dinner with one of Patrick’s doctors recently who was in Atlanta for a Children’s Oncology Group meeting. Dr. John Maris was Patrick’s lead doctor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Press On has funded Dr. Maris’s research over the years. During dinner, Dr. Maris and I were talking about funding and projects that were on the horizon at CHOP. He expressed his frustration at the exceedingly low levels of funding allocated to childhood cancer research by the NIH and other federal funding sources. If he had to rely solely on federal funding, he would not even have enough funds for his lab to do basic research, such as testing for markers in tumor cells that indicate whether specific chemotherapies would be potentially more effective than others.
I find it outrageous that the leading childhood cancer research facilities in this country are expected to operate with such limited resources. Children are dying every day and the rates of childhood cancer are rising, but scientists are not given the funding to save our kids! Thankfully, through our generous donors, organizations like Press On have stepped in to fill that void and provide funding for this essential research.
How important is YOUR donation to Press On? According to Dr. Maris, Press On provided CHOP “with the essential funding required to bridge the gap of an important new discovery of why children develop neuroblastoma into a new $3.3 million dollar NIH grant to study how to use this information to make smarter therapies.” Without Press On’s’ funding, Dr. Maris may not have been able to secure what little funding the NIH does supply to childhood cancer research.
Dr. Maris also spoke to the multiplicative effect of Press On’s funding – institutions like CHOP can leverage our grants to receive additional funding from other sources. He also stated that the impact Press On’s funding has on the next generation of pediatric cancer scientists cannot be underestimated. “In my own program, Press On funding directly impacted the career development of three promising young investigators, each of whom have new major publications and/or grants to further their careers,” Dr. Maris stated.
Dr. Leung at St. Jude expressed a similar sentiment when we toured that facility last Fall. We had the pleasure of meeting several of the scientists at St. Jude whose positions Press On had funded, and it was encouraging to know that these brilliant minds would be continuing the battle against childhood cancer in the future.
You can continue your support of these amazing scientists by supporting the upcoming Play for Patrick events! The Play for Patrick schedule is below. You can register for most events at www.pressonfund.org/play-for-patrick. Register for the Patch Dash 5K at www.active.com/atlanta-ga/running/distance-running-races/patch-dash-5k-2015 and for the tennis pro-am by emailing Ben Hestley at bh******@dh**.org.
Like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pressonfund!
XXOO + Press On!
Play for Patrick 2015 Schedule
Sunday, May 3 Patch Dash 5K 8:00 am
Thursday, May 7 Pours for Patrick Wine Dinner 6:30 pm
Thursday, May 14 Mixed Doubles Tournament 6:30 pm
Friday, May 15 Ladies Doubles Tournaments
B & C Levels 9:00 am
AA & A Levels 11:30 am
8U Singles; 10U Doubles 4:30 pm
12U, 14U, and 18U Doubles 6:00 pm
Saturday, May 16 Women’s Pro-Am 9:00 am
Men’s Pro-Am 1:00 pm
Perspire for Patrick Cardio Tennis 10:00 am
Paddle for Patrick Swim Festival 12:00 pm
Press On Celebration Party and Auction 7:00 pm
Sunday, May 17 Men’s Doubles Tournament 1:00 pm