St. Baldrick’s + Silicon Valley: an unstoppable force in the fight against pediatric cancer

Cristina Jimenez
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes. That means that every two minutes, another young life is changed forever. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-powered and donor-centered charity that has one mission: to give each child diagnosed with cancer the chance to be cured and go on to live long, healthy lives. Thanks to thousands of volunteers and donors, St. Baldrick’s is now the leading private funder of pediatric cancer research in the United States. 

Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford have been honored to receive over $3,000,000 in research funds from St. Baldrick’s since 2011. Each one of those dollars represents the hard work and optimism of an individual who took the time to volunteer at a St. Baldrick’s event or donate to a fundraising drive.

At Stanford University School of Medicine, St. Baldrick’s funds have contributed to research on a variety of pediatric cancers ranging from acute myeloid leukemia to Ewing’s sarcoma. In the labs of Stanford researchers like Sam Cheshier, MD, PhD, Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD, Melissa Mavers, MD, PhD, and Kara Davis, DO, those dollars are transformed into life-saving treatments for children with pediatric cancer. Currently, nearly 90 percent of kids diagnosed with the most common types of cancer are cured. Unfortunately, the short and long-term side effects of cancer treatment can be devastating for kids. Researchers at Stanford are committed to finding treatment options that are safer and more effective for young cancer patients. Without St. Baldrick’s, it would be virtually impossible to create better treatments for pediatric cancer.

Dr. Davis received a St. Baldrick’s grant early in her career and, according to her, it made all the difference: “St. Baldrick’s has been a tireless supporter of pediatric oncology research at Stanford. Personally, I would not have been able to continue my research without their support. The head shaving events are fun and inspiring fundraising events that bring together a great community of patients, families, friends, researchers and physicians.”

Tina Ashamalla is one of the organizers of the upcoming “Tech Tackles Cancer” fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s taking place in Palo Alto. For her, volunteering and fundraising for St. Baldrick’s is part of a personal mission: “ My family attended our first St. Baldrick's event in 2011, as honored guests, only four months after my 7-year-old daughter, Alessandra, finished her treatments for brain cancer. In 2012, my son and husband participated as shavees for the first time and I volunteered to help organize the event. Each year, when we stand on that stage to talk about why this event is so important and I hear the doctors tell their stories of new and better treatments, I think of the kids we met when staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Boston and how they might still be with us if these treatments had existed 5 years ago. We do this in their honor each year.” 

Tech Tackles Cancer takes place on April 12, 2017 at the SAP Palo Alto Campus from 4-8 p.m. and will feature players and cheerleaders from the San Francisco 49ers. Stanford Medicine physicians will also be on hand to talk about how they turn St. Baldrick’s funds into new treatments for kids fighting cancer. For more information or to RSVP to the event, please visit their event page.

How You Can Help
Donate to support more children.
Attend Tech Tackles Cancer
Support childhood cancer at Tech Tackles Cancer on Wednesday, April 12