Mission & History
We’re fighting for camp outs, campfires and s’mores. We’re fighting for soccer games and ballet classes. We’re fighting for a world without childhood cancer.
Press On’s Unique Mission is to identify feasible and groundbreaking alternative therapies for childhood cancers and to invest in the science and infrastructure needed to cure childhood cancer within our lifetime.
The History of Press On
In 2006, Stephen and Erin Chance formed Press On after their son Patrick was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (NB) at just three years old. Its original mission was to invest in less toxic, more effective therapies for high risk NB. Very few children have survived recurrent high risk NB; however, there are many therapies and trials that could someday lead to a cure.
In January of 2009, Turner and Tara Simkins’ middle son, Brennan, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (“AML”, the most deadly form of childhood leukemia) on the eve of his 7th birthday. Survival rates for AML have remained woefully stagnant compared to other types of childhood leukemia. Coincidentally, AML is the #1 secondary childhood cancer developed as a result of treatments given to cure a child’s primary cancer. This meant both Brennan and Patrick were at risk of surviving their primary cancers only to come down with secondary AML as a result of their first treatments. With this in mind, the Chances invited the Simkins to join Press On and expanded the mission to include research for AML.
Brennan relapsed soon after his first bone marrow transplant in late 2009 and the Simkins found themselves at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The doctors at St. Jude created a life-saving protocol for Brennan when other cancer centers gave the Simkins no hope for survival. It was during their time there that Tara and Turner met Bob and Melanie Crawford, whose daughter Hallie was undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. In 2011 Hallie was diagnosed with a brain tumor now classified as hGWNT, a new sub group of PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumor), of which there are only 15 known cases. Hallie’s father Bob is a world-renowned bassist with the Avett Brothers. With the help of a loyal network of Avett Brother’s fans, family, and friends, the Crawfords raised over a half a million dollars for pediatric cancer research; hoping to expand their impact, they joined Press On in 2015.
By 2015 Press On had made $1.7mm in investment for cures at centers including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 2015, through a $2.5mm commitment to create the first Translational Pediatric Oncology Research Program at the Georgia Cancer Center in Augusta, GA, Press On began to expand its mission to include pediatric cancers beyond NB and AML. Soon after this announcement, Bob and Melanie contacted Press On while researching ways to expand their own fundraising efforts. Given Press On’s expanding mission, and the Crawfords’ dedication to the cause, the Chances and Simkins invited the Crawfords to join the Press On band of families.
Patrick, Brennan, and Hallie have been treated at some of the top pediatric cancer centers in the country: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Medical Center at the Medical College of Georgia.
Exceptional research and innovative doctors and scientists at these centers have provided these children with opportunities that many others never had. Without treatment, 3-year-old Patrick had two months to live. Thanks to the dedication of his doctors and family, he lived to see five more years. Patrick passed away on his 9th birthday, January 9, 2012.
After one relapse, Hallie is now six years off treatment and in elementary school!
After relapsing three times and receiving a record four bone marrow transplants in 18 months, Brennan has been in remission for almost nine years. He is now a senior in high school!
Despite the efforts of Press On, countless other grassroots organizations, and virtually every major pediatric cancer center, it is unfortunate that even today, two full classrooms of kids are diagnosed with cancer daily. While doctors and researchers have made strides in the battle against so many types of adult cancer, the lack of funding and awareness for our children has led to an insignificant improvement in survival rates for many pediatric cancers. As a result, cancer continues to be the number one disease killer of American children, more than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and pediatric AIDS combined. We need your continued help to raise more funds and more awareness. Every day, new protocols in hospitals across the country stand to break the gridlock. Press On’s mission is to seek out and support innovative research at these institutions.
With the support of Press On’s Medical Advisory Team the three families are able to both find and investigate new research proposals on a regular basis. Press On maintains funds of $500,000 to ensure that all expenses relating to Press On (marketing, etc.) are covered and that 100% of donations go to research.
“We want to support all of these wonderful pediatric cancer centers,” says Stephen Chance. “But we want to make sure that our dollars go to research. And through alliances we have created with a number of other likeminded organizations, Press On is able to leverage every dollar to give our donors comfort that their money is invested wisely.”
By 2016, Press on had raised over $3.5mm for cancer research. In just the last few years, Press On has initiated $5.4mm in total investment, which includes $2.8m from the Press On Fund and $2.6m from partner organizations including The Band of Parents, Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation, Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer Foundation, I Back Jack Foundation, Isabella Santos Foundation, Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research, and Zev’s Fund.
As a donor to Press On, 100% of your contribution is an investment toward a cure. We are a field of interest fund of the Community Foundation for the CSRA; we have no rent to pay, no CEO, just a will to win. Like the Olympic marathon runner, we are equipped with the bare essentials. Anything more is a hindrance. Join the race. Be a participant. Play for Press On.