Today PAC2 is honored to have Jane Hoppen, Director of Partnerships at St. Baldrick's Foundation as a guest columnist. Jane will give us her views on the childhood cancer world, PAC2 and how you can help St. B's in its fight against childhood cancer. Jane's note follows.....
I want to thank People Against Childhood Cancer for working tirelessly to bring attention to childhood cancer, the number one disease killer of children in the US and Canada. You, the PAC2 community, are doing amazing things to further this cause.
My name is Jane Hoppen, and I am the Director of Partnerships for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I’ve been with the foundation as a volunteer since 2003 and in a staff capacity for two years. Yes, I have even faced the clippers and shaved my head in 2006. One of the most gratifying experiences of my life was shaving to honor the memory of a beautiful 10-month-old who lost her battle with AML. My hair was a small sacrifice! For those of you who are not familiar with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to who we are and what we do.
The mission of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is to raise awareness and funds to cure kids’ cancer by supporting cancer research.
What began as a challenge between a few friends has grown into the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraiser for childhood cancer research. Since the very first St. Baldrick’s event in the year 2000, St. Baldrick’s has raised over $50.8 million for the cause, shaving over 72,000 heads in 48 US states and 18 counties. Hosting over 565 head-shaving events in 2008 alone, and over 1,700 total since 2000, St. Baldrick’s is one the verge of being a household name.
How we Raise the Money
Just as one might choose to participate in a walk-a-thon, collecting pledges of support, volunteer “shavees” commit to shaving their heads at a St. Baldrick’s event, in solidarity with children who typically lose their hair to cancer treatments. In return, shavees collect pledges of financial support from family, friends and colleagues.
Funds raised through St. Baldrick’s events are helping some of the world’s finest researchers to find cures for childhood cancer. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation became an independent charity in late 2004 and began making grants in 2005. Funding applications are reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee, and funds are made available to pediatric cancer researchers in the form of grants and fellowships. Since 2005, over $29 million has been granted to support life-saving research.
As we begin our tenth year of St. Baldrick’s events raising funds for childhood cancer research, I’m reminded that forty years ago, pediatric oncologists hoped for nothing more than to be able to keep a child with cancer alive for as long as possible. Today, physicians and researchers believe the future will lead us to an era of change, a time when we will be able to tailor treatments to fit the needs of individual patients. Tumors that had previously appeared to be identical when viewed using traditional methods, can now be distinguished from each other in ways that will allow customized therapy. The focus has changed from killing cancer cells with broadly acting poisons, to controlling cancer cell growth with agents that target the cancer-causing genetic changes. As our therapy becomes “targeted,” that is, smarter and safer, it becomes more specific, active against a smaller number of tumors. As a result, the need for clinical trials, research studying the agents in patients, is even greater than it used to be.
The fight against childhood cancer is so challenging and so critical that there is room in this battle for everyone. Some organizations focus on assisting children with cancer with their day-to-day needs and providing comfort and support; some have a strong emphasis on advocacy; some, like St. Baldrick’s, concentrate on funding research.
Similarly, some of our colleagues in the fight choose to hold golf tournaments or auctions, another sells lemonade (and lots of it!); we shave heads (and lots of them!). Whatever aspect of the fight against childhood cancer strikes the strongest chord with you, whatever “weapons” in that fight seem most suited to you, there’s a place for you. The important thing is to join the fight.
Just looking at the breadth and scope of PAC2, it is obvious we are all in this fight together. We would be honored to have your support as we Shave the Way to Conquer Kids’ Cancer
Not quite ready to ‘brave a shave?’ No problem! You don’t have to shave your head to make a difference in the cause. There are nearly a dozen roles that volunteers can fill which greatly contribute to the success of the foundation. Volunteer at your local event as a Treasurer, Registrar, or Barber or fill another volunteer role that interests you. If there isn’t an event in your local area, become an event organizer. If you’re unable to participate at your local event, we encourage you to recruit a shavee, donate to the cause or spread the word.
Every bit counts in the fight against childhood cancer! You can make a difference! For more information, please visit our website at www.StBaldricks.org
or email me at Jane@StBaldricks.org.
Thank you again for inviting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to be part of PAC2. You have already made great strides towards “one voice against childhood cancer". We are excited to see what the future holds!
Director of Partnerships
St. Baldrick’s Foundation