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Travis Stafford is a father and childhood cancer advocate. He is committed to finding new treatments and cures by supporting CureSearch programs. In his mind, his son George’s future depends on it.

Travis Stafford’s perception of fatherhood changed after his son George was diagnosed with Wilms tumor at age 7. “The dad is supposed to be the rock, protector and provider for the family. I came to realize that is was okay to let my guard down and just be—be there, be scared and be emotional.”

“It’s never a good sign when your doctor enters the room in tears.”
In July 2014, just after his 7th birthday, George complained of a stomachache on and off for a couple of days. Travis and his wife Jen took him to the pediatrician. “It didn’t take long to know that something was terribly wrong.”

As George laid down on the examination table, they could see something six inches long protruding along his right side. He was rushed to the hospital immediately. “All they could tell us at the hospital was that it wasn’t leukemia and we needed to get to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City (350 miles away) as fast as we could.”

“At first, you just go numb and try to take in all of the information.”
“That week was really a blur-tests, doctors, nurses, techs, social services. It was a lot to take in. After his first MRI, we heard those damn words, your child has cancer.” George was diagnosed with anaplastic Wilms tumor (stage 3), the most common form of kidney cancer in children.

Before he could have surgery, George received two months of chemotherapy to try to shrink the football-sized tumor that had taken over his left kidney. Surgery was followed by more chemotherapy alternated with radiation treatments at University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute. Straddling long stays in distant hospitals and maintaining family life takes a lot of support from others. “Swallowing my pride and accepting outside help was the hardest thing. I wanted to be in control, and I couldn’t. Cancer was.”


Thankfully, after a year of treatment, George was sent home cancer-free in August 2015. Looking back, Travis shared some advice for other cancer fathers, “Cancer moms develop an unbreakable bond with each other. Dads need that, too. It’s okay to cry, to be scared. Find cancer dad groups locally or on social media. Talk about it. Share your feelings, your anger and your knowledge. I feel like dads are the forgotten group. People always ask, ‘How’s your wife, your kids?’ Not many people ask how the dads are doing.”

“No kid should have to go through this, period.”
“No one cares about childhood cancer until their child or grandchild gets cancer. It’s time that changed! George is not a cancer survivor; he is surviving cancer. The same treatments that cured him can still give him cancer-maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday. He has had a few scares, but it does not hold him back or keep him down. That’s why it’s so important to raise money and awareness for children’s cancer research.”

“We need an army to fight this!”
At Primary Children’s Hospital, the Stafford’s received CureSearch’s educational resource materials for families. Later on, they learned about CureSearch Walks and CureSearch’s mission to fund critical research to find new, less-toxic treatments for children’s cancer. Now, the family is organizing their own DIY Gold Fundraiser for CureSearch. The inaugural George Says Cancer Sucks Bowling Tournament is coming up on August 24, 2019 in St. George, Utah. “This is our first, of hopefully many, bowling events to raise money. We need an army to fight this!”

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For 30 years, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer has worked tirelessly to accelerate the development of new, less-toxic children’s cancer treatments, including the cancer that George was stricken with – Wilms tumor. Learn more about the progress we are making thanks to the support of volunteers and advocates like Travis Stafford.


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Media Contact: Caitlyn Barrett
National Director, Research and Programs
Phone: (240) 235-2215 | caitlyn.barrett@curesearch.org

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Announces
Research Award Opportunities

Up to $5 million in research awards will accelerate the development of better, less-toxic children’s cancer treatments

Bethesda, MD – June 3, 2019 – CureSearch for Children’s Cancer announced a request for applications (RFA) for novel drug development projects that address areas of unmet need in pediatric cancer.

The awards will support revolutionary research proposed by investigators worldwide through three CureSearch grant programs:

  • Young Investigators Award: Provides seed funding for bright researchers, early in their careers, pursuing exciting, high-potential therapies with the goal of reaching the clinic in three to five years.
  • Acceleration Initiative Award: Addresses the largest obstacles in children’s cancer research to propel treatments from the lab to the clinic.
  • Catapult Award: Advances the strongest research by funding clinical trials, driving treatments towards regulatory approval while immediately improving patient outcomes.

The application window opened Monday, June 3, 2019 via ProposalCENTRAL; award notifications will be released starting January 2020, on a rolling basis.

CureSearch identifies and funds promising research projects with an accelerated development time frame to meet our end goal—bringing new treatments quickly to the clinic to save kids now. CureSearch’s mission to end children’s cancer includes supporting researchers through funding, guidance, knowledge and relationships to ensure the greatest chance of success.

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About CureSearch for Children’s Cancer

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md., works to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. CureSearch focuses on advancing the strongest research out of the laboratory and into clinical trials and development, where better, less-toxic treatments can quickly help children.

For more information, visit curesearch.org, follow CureSearch on Twitter @curesearch or join the conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/curesearch.

The post CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Announces Research Award Opportunities in 2019 appeared first on CureSearch for Children's Cancer.

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What if you could have the ultimate destination adventure while also giving back to an important cause? With CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike, you can!

The Ultimate Hike program provides training in a virtual setting with one of our incredible coaches, fundraising support and the opportunity to travel to beautiful hike locations for a weekend that you’ll never forget.


Superior Hiking Trail – August 24

Drive or ride in CureSearch transportation up Minnesota’s North Shore until you arrive at your home for the weekend. Your 25.5 mile trek includes views of beautiful Lake Superior and other serene water features. A world famous treat awaits you at the finish line before your evening victory reception which overlooks Lake Superior. You might just decide to dip your toes right in! If you choose to spend more time in the beautiful ski town of Lutsen, you’ll find gondola rides, an alpine slide, restaurants with beautiful views and more. Visit www.ultimatehike.org/superior to learn more.


Pacific Crest Trail – September 21

Travel to beautiful Big Bear Lake, California, one of Southern California’s premier vacation destinations. You’ll trek 26 miles of the wild Pacific Crest Trail before you relax. Our hotel has everything you need to wind down and celebrate, including an outdoor whirlpool. Local shops and restaurants are within walking distance, and the hike overlaps Big Bear Lake’s Oktoberfest – one of the best in California. Visit www.ultimatehike.org/pacific to learn more.


Tecumseh Trail – October 5

Midwesterners know that beautiful Brown County, Indiana, is the ideal fall vacation location. Our Tecumseh Trail Ultimate Hike is nestled in prime country for hiking and other outdoor activities. You’ll trek 28.1 miles through the beautiful Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe State Forests before returning to the quaint village of Nashville, Indiana. With plenty of outdoor activities, hundreds of unique craft and specialty shops, breweries and great local events, Nashville is the perfect destination for the whole family or a romantic couples adventure. Visit www.ultimatehike.org/tecumseh to learn more.

Whichever hike you choose, we’ll help you make it a travel experience. The option is available to adjust the distance of each hike if you’d prefer a less time on the trail and a little more time vacationing. Click here to learn more about Ultimate Hike adventures across the nation or the option to create your own.


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The post Ultimate Hike Adventures Across the Nation appeared first on CureSearch for Children's Cancer.

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CureSearch Research Funding Drives
New Brain Cancer Treatments

Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in children and accounts for nearly 20% of childhood cancer diagnoses, yet treatments have remained relatively unchanged over the past 30 years. Our research strategy is laser focused on addressing this type of unmet need and ensuring that new treatments move quickly into clinical trials to improve outcomes for children, both now and in the future.

This Brain Tumor Awareness Month, we want to share exciting updates on two CureSearch-funded research projects that are making significant inroads in the development of promising new treatments for pediatric brain tumors.

Richard J. Gilbertson, MD, PhD
Cambridge University

Dr. Gilbertson received a CureSearch Acceleration Initiative Award which funded his project to discover and develop new therapies for high-risk pediatric brain cancers including medulloblastoma, ependymoma and choroid plexus carcinoma. New and existing drugs were tested for these specific diseases, and Dr. Gilbertson identified several promising therapies to guide immediate clinical testing.

Results of this project contributed to the launch of a phase 1 clinical trial testing combination therapies for malignant brain tumors. Dr. Gilbertson’s research directly impacts patients with recurrent, refractory medulloblastoma. The trial, sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, opened in March 2019.

Learn more about Dr. Gilbertson’s project here.


Ranjit Bindra, MD, PhD
Yale Cancer Center

Supported by a CureSearch Catapult Award, Dr. Bindra and his team are conducting a phase 1 clinical trial testing a new treatment for pediatric glioma, an aggressive brain cancer with a 5-year survival rate of less than 25 percent. This drug will make the cancer more sensitive to chemotherapy, allowing the patient to receive lower doses. If successful, Dr. Bindra’s trial will lead to a far-less-toxic standard of treatment, reducing lifelong damaging side effects for patients and increasing the overall survival rate.

The trial opened in 2019 with the first patient enrolled in early May at the University of California, San Francisco. Up to 17 additional trial sites will open across the country, providing current patients with access to this potential new treatment.

Learn more about Dr. Bindra’s project here.

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A resource for families and caregivers, our website contains a wealth of information about brain tumors in children, including types of brain tumors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment. Learn more by clicking here.

CureSearch is committed to driving the strongest research and delivering treatments to children, faster. Get involved or give today so children can live longer, healthier lives tomorrow.


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“Before Emily” and “After Emily” – A Mother’s Story

By Amy McKelvey

Amy McKelvey is a mother, CureSearch supporter and childhood cancer advocate. Her daughter, Emily, died just five months after her diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), on December 20, 2009 at age 17.

Before…

My life now seems to be defined by “before Emily was ill” and “after Emily was gone.” It’s the measure of time whenever I think back on events, celebrations, memories, etc. Before her diagnosis, we were a typical, ordinary family of six. A second marriage for my husband Mark and me, we each brought two children to our blended family – Mark’s sons Caleb and Zach, and my two, Emily and Brendan. We were all happily busy with “life.” Emily cheered for her high school. Zach and Brendan were both involved with baseball and Caleb was away at college.

Emily was a counselor at a summer camp two weeks prior to her diagnosis. One week out of the year, the regular camp closes and during that week, the camp opens for children who have (or have had) cancer and their siblings. Normally, the special camp is staffed by its own counselors, physicians and volunteers, but that year, Emily wanted to stay and help. Emily called me and told me that she wasn’t sure why, but she really felt like she was supposed to be there. At the end of the conversation, she said “Oh, and by the way, my throat is REALLY sore, and my tonsils seem swollen.”

When Emily returned home the following Friday, I took her to Urgent Care. The physician examined her and suspected that she had mono. Throughout the next week, she was tired and had such low energy that we ended up taking her to a physician while we were at the beach, and ultimately cut our vacation short and returned home to seek additional medical care. We walked into our physician’s office and an hour later we were told, “I’m sorry, but you have leukemia.” We were devastated and shocked as she had had a complete physical just months before and it was text-book perfect.

Facing Treatment as a Family

Emily began treatment the Friday after her diagnosis. She endured three rounds of aggressive chemotherapy and was hospitalized the entire five months. I took a leave of absence from my job and literally moved into the hospital with her, staying by her side night and day. I was virtually absent from Brendan’s life while Emily was in treatment. She was so vulnerable and subject to infection that visits from family and friends had to be carefully monitored. It was a very difficult time for all of us. We just all kept believing that Emily would pull through this and our family would return to the “before Emily was ill” timeline that so defines each of us today.

Sadly, Emily passed away on December 20, 2009. Just five months after her diagnosis, Emily was gone. The chemotherapy given to her to wipe out her cells to prepare for a bone marrow transplant caused irreversible liver damage and failure; there was nothing further that could be done.

After…

Before Emily’s diagnosis I would hear of parents who had lost a child and I would think that I could NEVER survive the loss of one of my children. But you do. And you do it through the grace that is given by God and faith and by unconditional love from family and friends. Even today, 10 years later, there are times when I am in complete and total shock that Emily is gone. It hits me at the obvious times like holidays and birthdays, but it also hits me hard at the odd times. Small things can trigger it-a memory, seeing a mother with her daughter shopping, a song on the radio, a favorite movie. I have also been blessed with some very vivid dreams that are so real and reassuring that I am convinced they are Emily’s way of letting me know that she is truly okay. While I know that she is where she needs absolutely nothing from me, I just miss being her Mom.

Now, I am busy with work and our children are grown. Mark and I are empty nesters. Brendan is almost 23 and just finished up college. Mark’s boys, Caleb and Zach, are doing well. Because of our experience, we all have a greater understanding of what is important in life and we don’t spend a lot of time worried about the things that don’t matter. We appreciate life and all of the blessings that we are given. It’s what Emily would want us to do.

As mothers, our instinct and duty is to “fix” things, to make them right. No matter how much I wanted to fix Emily, I couldn’t. Our job is to love our children, unconditionally and without fail. I know that I did that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But I couldn’t fix this. If your child is undergoing treatment now, know that you are not alone. Reach out to others for comfort and if someone offers to help, let them. This is a time when you can’t do it all, and people who care about you want to help.

Taking Action & Honoring Emily

In 2009, while Emily was going through treatment, her cheerleading squad participated in the local CureSearch Walk. That was the first time I became aware of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. Our friends and family participated for the next couple of years and then, in 2011, I heard about the CureSearch Ultimate Hike. I completed my first hike in 2012. I was “all in” but never dreamed that I would become a repeat hiker and an advocate to promote the Ultimate Hike program and CureSearch. The people that I have met over the years were surely put in my path for a reason. I truly feel this is my calling and my way of giving back to those who may find themselves in my shoes.

I think most parents in this situation are desperate to do something profound to honor their children and carry on their legacy – to share their story, make something good out of something as devastating as losing their child. I know Emily would want me to do all of the things I am doing to make a difference in the pediatric cancer world. It allows me to share her story and to tell the world what an awesome young woman she was. I feel her pushing me to do the things that I do. Even in her absence from this earth, she’s still working her magic.

For 30 years, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer has worked tirelessly to accelerate the development of new, less-toxic children’s cancer treatments, including treatments for the cancer that took Emily’s life – Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Learn more about the progress we are making thanks to the support of volunteers and advocates like Amy McKelvey.


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A Hero in Any Playbook

Chandler Grey is just like any other kid in many ways; he loves Scooby-Doo, playing with Legos and learning about dinosaurs. But, unlike most 8-year-olds, Chandler has a high-grade neuroepithelial tumor of the central nervous system with a BCOR mutation – in other words, a highly malignant and extremely rare brain cancer.

A year prior to his diagnosis, Chandler began showing symptoms including nose bleeds, loss of balance, headaches, lack of appetite and a decline in energy. At first, his doctors saw no overarching illness, until one day, Chandler could not make even the smallest movements without intense pain. He had a fall a few weeks earlier and doctors thought there was a chance he was suffering from a severe concussion. Instead, a CT scan and MRI revealed the brain tumor.

This devastating diagnosis left Chandler’s parents confused, numb and full of questions. Why would this happen to our child? Is it our fault? Should we have demanded more testing earlier on? And most importantly, what do we do now?

Chandler went to Boston, where he had major brain surgery and spent a week in the ICU. The following months were spent with trips back and forth from Maine to Boston to receive proton radiation and intensive chemotherapy treatments. Adjusting to this rigorous schedule of treatment was difficult for the entire family. Chandler’s siblings had needs of their own and had trouble understanding the shift in attention. Chandler’s cancer diagnosis left the family feeling separated and isolated. Despite the confusion, hospital visits, hardships faced, and challenges, Chandler’s parents are determined to stay positive and never give up hope.

“My guy possesses more strength than anyone could ever imagine and backs it up with a positive attitude, a huge smile and a kind heart,” said Chandler’s mom, Kristin Grey. “He has an incredible love for life and everything good it has to offer. His determination to survive is endless.”

Now a year since his original diagnosis, Chandler continues fighting and is still in treatment. Kristin notes that her son is only the eighth person to be diagnosed with this form of cancer, making the treatment process relatively exploratory.

His family hopes for the continued support and research to find a cure for children’s cancer, and Kristin shares the following advice for other families: “Let others help. Allow yourself to cry. Always find a positive, and… don’t take tomorrow for granted.”

CureSearch research programs are focused on accelerating the development of new treatments for kids like Chandler. To learn more, visit curesearch.org/Our-Research-Strategy


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The post Chandler, CNS HGNET-BCOR appeared first on CureSearch for Children's Cancer.

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A Legacy of Kindness and Compassion How 11-Year-Old Karma Maestas United a Community

Written by Crystal McBride, Karma’s Mom

Karma was born a sassy, fierce and bright child. Independent and inquisitive, she was determined to get the ultimate “why” of everything. She grew to love math, science and exploring the stars and universe. She was wise beyond her years and would challenge not only her friends and family, but herself to be a better person.

When she was ten years old, Karma was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer, Osteosarcoma of the left distal femur. As her mom, it wasn’t easy to learn the type of cancer she had and what she was up against. Karma got angry at first, wanting to know why I couldn’t just kiss it away.

A turning point for our family was Thanksgiving Day, a few weeks after her diagnosis, when she asked, “Mom, am I going to die?” My first thought was to scream NO, but I knew that I needed to be completely honest so she could trust that I wouldn’t hold anything back from her. Even though we might hear things that we didn’t want to hear, together, we would hold each other up.

Finding out about Karma’s cancer was a fast track to an unpredictable world with no rules or traffic signs. When she was diagnosed, I was nine-months pregnant and due at the end of the month. On October 14, 2016 Karma was diagnosed. Just three days later, on October 17, Karma had surgery for a biopsy and port placement. That very same day I gave birth to my youngest daughter, Hope. Having a brand new baby and another baby with cancer was overwhelming.

Karma endured 30 rounds of chemotherapy and we hoped that her cancer was gone. That was not to be. A few months later, a stomach tumor appeared and we were told the devastating news that she had only weeks to live. Karma’s life-affirming response was to plan a celebration of life ceremony and to create a bucket list of the things she hoped to experience—to have a prom and a ride in a Lamborghini.

Our local community in Utah rose up, embracing us with love and support. Words cannot express how grateful we were (and still are) for them. They held Cruise for Karma fundraisers to raise money for children fighting cancer. They made her bucket list dreams come true—having her very own prom with a DJ and dancing, and a joyful celebration of life event that Karma planned with fast cars and a bounce house. Looking back, I appreciate just how important the support of others is. When your child has cancer, it affects the whole family. We suffer along with the child we love as we watch the disease and the treatments take a devastating toll.

Even though I lost Karma to cancer, I would say that the cancer journey has given me a new life, new outlook and a new purpose. I knew that we could either let this define us or we could define it. This was a battle we weren’t going to lose. For the first time in my life, I saw what life was supposed to be—the kindness, caring and compassion that Karma showed us. She cried for the other children on the cancer floor and expressed that she would die over and over again if she could take the cancer from them so they didn’t have to go through it. She often said, “I know the pain that they are in and it’s not fair.”

CureSearch’s mission is critical, not only for raising awareness and funding research for children’s cancer, but also to provide resources that offer one of the few lifelines for parents when their child has cancer. When you are able to connect with other families, who have gone through this, you know that you and your child are not alone. These resources light your way during your darkest time and give you strength.

This young child was able to unite a whole community to raise money for children with cancer and those who are homeless. Her life and legacy have lifted us all up. She asked us to be more kind and loving, and have a charitable heart. We have become better people as we honor her wishes and her memory.

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Learn more about CureSearch educational and support resources at curesearch.org/Cancer-Resources


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Media Contact: Kelli Wright
Phone: (240) 235-2204 | kelli.wright@curesearch.org

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Launches Groundbreaking IMPACT Series Forum

Collaborative forum will provide academic pediatric oncology leaders with early industry insights to accelerate the development of new pediatric cancer treatments

Bethesda, MD – March 28, 2019 – CureSearch for Children’s Cancer announces its inaugural IMPACT Series Forum, a closed-door session that will provide first-of-its-kind insight for leading academics into pharma’s early development pipeline. This highly proprietary information is typically shared only once research is made public in the clinical phase, a timeline that puts the discovery process for pediatrics three to five years behind adults. The IMPACT Series will allow academics to engage in and potentially expedite the pediatric development timeline, bringing new treatments to children in an accelerated timeframe.

The RACE for Children Act, signed into law last year as Title V of the 2017 FDA Reauthorization Act, requires industry to evaluate all new potential treatments for adult cancers for pediatric relevancy early in the drug development process. The new guidelines will go into effect in 2020.

“CureSearch has stepped up to create an innovative, novel approach to convening academia and industry towards implementation of the RACE Act. It is our hope that this IMPACT Series will serve as a model for engagement that will lead to a global shift in drug development, ensuring that children are in the forefront of advancements in cancer research,” stated Kay Koehler, CureSearch CEO. “With this effort, we are aiming to expedite access for those in the field and, ultimately, the children who need them most.”

The inaugural forum will take place on March 28 in Atlanta, GA where Industry leader AstraZeneca and Acerta Pharma, AstraZeneca’s Hematology development arm, will meet with a select group of global academic and research experts in an opportunity to gain critical insights into their targets and mechanisms that are currently being developed for cancer, allowing earlier consideration for pediatric activity for therapeutics that may be entering clinical trials in the next three to five years or already in the clinic for adult cancers.

“Research into pediatric cancers brings its own set of challenges and, with blood cancers among the most common in children, AstraZeneca and Acerta are proud to be working with CureSearch on the IMPACT Series,” stated Davy Chiodin, Vice President, Regulatory Science at Acerta Pharma. “Bringing both parties together for such a dialogue around the development pipeline is unprecedented, and it takes true multi-stakeholder collaboration to make these critical conversations happen.”

CureSearch Board Chairman Stuart Siegel, M.D, added, “We’re energized by the support of industry leaders like AstraZeneca and Acerta Pharma and the participation of global pediatric oncology leaders in our inaugural IMPACT Series Forum. We know this is a vital first step in making pediatric cancers a priority in drug development, and the frank and transparent exchange of information will give both sides the opportunity to align pediatric research sooner.”

###

About CureSearch for Children’s Cancer

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md., works to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. CureSearch focuses on advancing the strongest research out of the laboratory and into clinical trials and development, where better, less-toxic treatments can quickly help children.

For more information, visit curesearch.org, follow CureSearch on Twitter @curesearch or join the conversation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/curesearch.

The post CureSearch for Children’s Cancer Launches Groundbreaking IMPACT Series appeared first on CureSearch for Children's Cancer.

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Marianne Salsberg Maintains Optimal Health and Adds Meaning to her Miles by Supporting CureSearch

A quest for health and wellness was the basis of a beautiful synergy with an important goal – end children’s cancer. Marianne Salsberg ran her first 5K in the fall of 2012, months after having gastric bypass surgery. As she developed a fitness regimen, much to her surprise, she discovered that she really enjoyed running. So, she kept on running, which helped her achieve and maintain a 120-pound weight loss! It was at a 5K that her path first intersected with CureSearch, when she walked over to our information booth at the event.

Two people dear to her heart are survivors of children’s cancer – her nephew and a friend’s son. When Marianne learned about CureSearch’s history and mission that day, she was determined to join our efforts to save children, adolescents and young adults NOW and enable them to live long, healthy lives.

Marianne first took on the challenge of our CureSearch Ultimate Hike and has now completed four hike events! This year, Marianne is trading in her hiking boots for running shoes as a member of our CureSearch Challenge team at Grandma’s Marathon.

“This will be the second time I’ve run the Grandma’s Half. I am thrilled to run to raise funds for this organization that is helping to find cures and safer treatments for children’s cancer,” Marianne shared. “No one, especially a child, should have to battle cancer. Children are not small adults and their treatment should not simply be a smaller adult dose.”

Marianne is part of our team of inspiring CureSearch Challenge runners and walkers throughout the country who are dedicated to raising funds to cure children’s cancer. CureSearch has a handful of entries left into the sold-out Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon with fundraising active until May 1. To join our team at Grandma’s Marathon, click here.

Learn more about our other featured CureSearch Challenge races, or how add meaning to miles at the event of your choice, visit www.curesearchevents.org/challenge or contact us at challenge@curesearch.org.


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Super CC: Strong and Brave Our family’s childhood cancer journey

Written by Emily Powell, CC’s Mom

Our daughter CC was normally a bubbly, vivacious child, but when she was diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in October 2016, she was so sick that she made no effort to even leave her hospital bed. She was just two years and nine months old at the time.

When we received the news, we were devastated, but as parents with military backgrounds, we approached it as we would any other critical mission. What other option was there but to become expert caregivers and advocates on behalf of our sweet child? We tackled treatment one day at a time, with the support of our extended family and friends.

The treatment for ALL was absolutely heartbreaking to watch and utterly exhausting to endure. CC’s very young age (too young to reason with) and strong spirit made her a feisty patient. She fought against every single treatment that delivered the “poison” that made her so sick while saving her life. Although her chemotherapy just ended, the worry remains. We worry about relapse and the late effects of the chemotherapy.

CC is five years old now. She’s a very kind and loving child who enjoys dancing, singing, making people laugh and giving big hugs. She has a huge heart for others and is happiest when the people around her are happy. She never ceases to amaze us with her spirited response to challenges. She truly brings light and love to every situation!

Childhood cancer is not personal until your own child is diagnosed. I wish the general public understood that it is not as rare as they think it is; that treatment is longer and harsher than they think it is; and that childhood cancer survivors often experience negative effects from the treatment later in life. We count ourselves extremely fortunate that CC is in remission now and doing well, but our lives are forever changed by this experience.

As a family, we are taking action to rid the world of childhood cancer. CC, her big sister Reagan, our friends, family and community participate in our local CureSearch Walk with our team, Super CC. Together, we raise funds and strive to make a difference for other families battling this horrible disease.

CureSearch shares our passion for funding more research to cure childhood cancer, and relentlessly pursuing better, less toxic treatments for our precious children, and they give families a voice to share our stories and advocate on behalf of our children so we can make a difference in the future of childhood cancer.


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Find Team Super CC on Facebook, and learn more about CureSearch Walks and other events at curesearch.org.

The post CC, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) appeared first on CureSearch for Children's Cancer.

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