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Major funding win for pediatric cancer research


It all started in a small office in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — A local boy’s cancer battle inspired a small nonprofit to seek an unusual source to fund childhood cancer research, and that effort is paying off — with the U.S. Department of Defense now allocating $56 million to this effort.

It all started in a small office in Atlanta.

A poster of William, on the mound, hangs in the offices of the Rally for Pediatric Cancer Research in Atlanta.

The Battle of William inspired Dean Crowe to start the foundation.

“He was a pitcher,” Crowe described. “He was really slow when he was throwing. He was really methodical.”

For 11 years, William fought brain cancer with the same determination he had on the court.

“I looked at his mother and said, ‘You have to let me know what to do to help you.’ And she looked at me, and really, without hesitation, she said, ‘Raise money for childhood cancer research,’ Crowe recounted.

And when Crowe decided to lobby the military to fund this research, she pulled a page from William’s playbook.

For the past five years, the Rally for Pediatric Cancer Research team has traveled to the United States Capitol to advocate for the funds, which will go directly to researchers.

“You had to think about it – your strategy,” Crowe explained. “How are you going to implement this strategy? »

The DoD has always had a medical research component, but Dean discovered that the bulk of DoD funding for cancer research was for diseases affecting older Americans — not teenagers or young adults who were actively serving. .

“We have unknowingly left behind the men and women who served our country in the war against cancer. We must go after them,” she said. “And that really touched the members. They got it.”

She asked the DoD to fund researchers focused on cancer in children and young adults, up to age 39, who have ties to the military.

The money will go towards finding a cure for the types of cancers that ultimately killed William – or towards treatments to help children like Ethan Daniels who has just become a survivor.

“It is enormous!” Daniels explained. “Fifty-six million!”

“Do you know how big that is?” He asked. “It’s a huge number, and we need to see those big numbers to find cures and treatments.”

Daniels is 17 and dreams of one day joining the Air Force.

He said Crowe’s work with Rally for Pediatric Cancer Research made that dream a possibility.

“The fact that it grew so much, it made me feel really good,” he said.

Atlanta Children’s Healthcare pediatrician and Emory professor Dr. Sharon Castellino is also excited about the funding. His team is one of many across the country that will use this funding at the AFLAC Cancer Research Center at Children’s Healthcare Atlanta.

“We combine a lot of spaces, and that’s what’s unique about the mechanism,” Castellino said.

“It’s hard to do that in other settings, where you might just be studying genetics in a lab or just studying imaging results, and here we’re able to cross that with patients we’ve already treated. and know how they are,” she said.

The money is currently being awarded to researchers across the country, and Crowe said William’s legacy – this funding – will save lives.

“This DoD funding allows our researchers to finish strong and win the game,” she said.

Cnn

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