The world of childhood cancer can be a very depressing place to live in. I attend children’s funerals, I visit with families early on following diagnosis, I see the terror and despair in their eyes, and I see the physical, emotional, and marital impact that it has on families. And, it doesn’t stop. I know I will see more tomorrow; the names will change but the stories, not so much. And I do this, quite frankly, while Chris, Ali, and I still grieve the loss of our son and brother.
There is, though, an inspiring side to this horrible, horrible world of childhood cancer. Firstly, the phenomenally brave B+ Heroes, and their siblings, these kids who are my bosses. They reach down deep to find a strength and courage that they probably didn’t know they had. While they may have cried at a normal ‘kid thing’ like falling off a bike or being pushed to the ground by their sibling, they will now tell you matter of factly about their port or their methotrexate or next procedure. And, they often do it with a smile on their face. I am also inspired by the young people who have not been personally touched by childhood cancer yet they still choose to join our movement to eradicate childhood cancer and help the families currently in the battle. Take a few minutes to read this Opinion piece that ran in yesterday’s Wilmington (DE) News-Journal by a member of UDance.
One of the most optimistic and encouraging moments that I have had in the last 9+ years happened last Wednesday at Duke University. In honor of UDance and B+ Hero Stephanie Bader who passed away 18 months ago at the age of 13, we awarded a grant to Dr. Mattias Gromeier for his phenomenally exciting working injecting an engineered polio virus into high grade gliomas (brain tumors). As you may have seen on “60 Minutes”, this work has received “breakthrough” designation from the federal government, but it has not been tested on children. Yet. In partnership with our friends at Solving Kids Cancer, another childhood cancer charity, a pediatric clinical trial will be opened before the end of the year. All because of you – B+ Nation! The investigators are optimistic that the response in children will be even better than in adults and that this treatment protocol could eventually be expanded to other types of childhood cancer, excluding blood cancers. We may be playing a small role in dramatically changing the landscape and outlook for children with a type of cancer that currently has a poor prognosis. Who would have ever thought that selling B+ tee shirts, organizing 5ks and golf outings, partnering with college and high school kids, asking (ok, begging) people for donations, would yield this kind of potential result??? It’s not about credit, it’s about knowing in your heart that you’re doing something and it might just pay off. Time will tell. We’re giving families HOPE! Thank you!
Last Alarm – 9/24/16
An important part of our B+ Nation suffered a tremendous loss on September 24, 2016 and it would not be right if I didn’t pay tribute to them. The Wilmington (DE) Fire Department has been a tremendous supporter of The B+ Foundation. Every winter, the WFD plays the WPD in the Winter Classic ice hockey game to raise money and awareness for our mission. They also invite B+ Heroes out onto the ice for the puck drop.
In the early morning hours of September 24, Capt. Christopher Leach and Lt. Jerry Fickes ran into a house fire in search of trapped occupants. The floor collapsed and these brave men perished in the fire. Capt. Leach is a Salesian brother of Andrew’s, 17 years his senior. As they have loyally stood with us and serve our community valiantly on a daily basis, we stand with them as we all mourn the loss of 2 HEROES. Our prayers go out to the Leach and Fickes families. I am confident that Andrew was one of the first to greet these brave men in Heaven!
State of DE employees – remember you can now select The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation as your beneficiary designation. Folks that work at companies with United Way can also ‘write-in’ The B+ Foundation (tax id # 42-1741037). Thank you.
Live Like Andrew
Ali & Andrew’s Dad