The V Foundation Observes Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

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Expanded Pediatric Cancer Research Focus Includes Record-Breaking Fundraising Events, New Partnerships and Grant Announcements

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There is nothing worse than seeing a mom and dad go through a cancer diagnosis with their child

The V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research funding organizations, is pleased to recognize Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month this September while highlighting its work to end the leading cause of death by disease in American children. The V Foundation has awarded more than $15 million in pediatric cancer research grants nationwide and is thrilled to expand its efforts as a result of record-breaking fundraising events, as well as new and extended partnerships. With the additional funds, The V Foundation is pleased to announce new pediatric cancer research grants at institutions nationwide, including grants in honor of Leah Still and in memory of Lauren Hill.

“We must all unite to help kids battling cancer,” said Dick Vitale, ESPN Hall of Fame sportscaster and host of the Dick Vitale Gala, an annual event that in its 11-year history has raised more than $12 million for The V Foundation’s pediatric cancer research initiatives. “There is nothing worse than seeing a mom and dad go through a cancer diagnosis with their child. I beg you to take action and donate at jimmyv.org.”

The Dick Vitale Gala was just one of The V Foundation’s signature events dedicated to specifically raising funds for pediatric cancer research thus far this year. The 17th Annual V Wine Celebration, which was held in August in Napa Valley, California, and hosted by Duke University Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, raised an unprecedented $7.8 million to support pediatric brain cancer research. The $7.8 million total also included a $3 million matching grant from an anonymous donor. Dr. Sabine Mueller, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, will be one of the grant recipients from funds raised at The V Wine Celebration and will help coordinate a multi-centered Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) clinical trial at institutions across the country. DIPG is a brain tumor that primarily affects children between five and seven years of age. Currently, children with this diagnosis have a very low survival rate.

“More than 80% of children with cancer survive long term, but challenges still remain for pediatric cancer research,” said Dr. Robert Bast, vice president for Translational Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and chair of The V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee. “The opportunities for progress have never been greater; and The V Foundation is investing wisely in the most promising investigators and projects.”

Many courageous pediatric cancer patients have recently inspired the nation while calling attention to the need for continued support of pediatric cancer research. Devon Still, a Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, and his 5-year-old daughter, Leah, accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2015 ESPY Awards for their bravery in battling Leah’s cancer diagnosis. For their unwavering spirit while Leah “beat up cancer,” The V Foundation is pleased to announce a pediatric cancer research grant in her honor.

The V Foundation is also proud to announce a pediatric cancer research grant in memory of Lauren Hill, who succumbed to DIPG earlier this year. While moving a national audience as a basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University last fall, Hill channeled the outpouring of encouragement to raise awareness for the rare and aggressive pediatric brain tumor. From funds raised at this year’s Dick Vitale Gala, The V Foundation will award a $600,000 Translational Grant at Stanford Cancer Institute in memory of Hill. The V Foundation and ESPN also honored Hill during the Jimmy V Women’s Basketball Classic.

“The V Foundation funds research into all kinds of cancer,” said Susan Braun, CEO of The V Foundation. “We look carefully at areas of need and of scientific promise, and this year we have chosen a major focus on pediatric cancer. Very little federal funding is available for children's cancers, and so – with the help of thousands of generous donors – we've stepped up to help save our kids!”

In addition to the net proceeds of various signature events and direct donations, new collaborative initiatives with the Vs. Cancer Foundation and the National Brain Tumor Society will assist The V Foundation in continuing to fund pediatric cancer research. The Vs. Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for pediatric cancer research, will fund a $200,000 V Scholar Grant awarded to pediatric brain cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital vetted by The V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee. The National Brain Tumor Society is fiercely committed to funding better treatments, and eventually a cure, for brain tumors, and it is raising money as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to fund new, innovative pediatric clinical trials as part of its Project Impact program.

For more information and to make a donation, please visit http://www.jimmyv.org.

About The V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the Foundation has funded more than $130 million in cancer research grants nationwide. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from events support all the work of The V Foundation. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process vetted by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit http://www.jimmyv.org.

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