While we tend to focus on the more relatable stories of assisting families of kids with cancer with critical medical and living expenses, I get really excited about our research grants as well.  Would you believe that The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation has awarded 150 research grants to leading researchers globally since our inception?  Most of the grants are for what you think – scientists in labs with really expensive equipment attempting to accelerate the discovery in to cures or enhanced treatment protocols.  But, there’s other valuable research that we invest in and it doesn’t happen in ‘wet labs’.

Today, I’d like to touch briefly upon the work of Dr. Sam Volchenboum’s and his team at the University of Chicago.  Their flagship project, that we have helped to financially support, is the Pediatric Cancer Data Commons.

In short, the mission of this project is to — Connect.  Share.  Cure.  I’ve pasted a brief description of the project from their website below.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit their site at the link above.  It’s really fascinating.  From Day 1 of the existence of The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, we made it clear that we are all about collaboration to accelerate progress.

“The Pediatric Cancer Data Commons (PCDC) brings together clinical, genomic, and imaging data from institutions around the world that are working alongside us to transform pediatric cancer research and outcomes.

Headquartered at the University of Chicago, the PCDC works with international leaders in pediatric cancers and the National Cancer Institute to develop and apply uniform data standards that facilitate the collection, combination, and analysis of data from many different sources. By harmonizing existing clinical research data and leading international efforts to standardize data collection, we are breaking down long-standing barriers that have held back advancements in research on rare diseases.

We streamline the process of bringing data together into a commons through our centralized expertise in clinical cancer research, technology, data standards, and the international legal and regulatory landscape. The result is significantly more cases available for study, expedited sharing of data across borders, and reduced time and cost for physicians and researchers. Our aim is to leverage our unique collaborative, consortium-based approach to enable new and meaningful discoveries about pediatric cancers.”


Mixed Blessings

I appreciate every donor’s contributions, whether it be a few dollars of a child’s allowance to thousands of dollars from a corporate grant.  Every penny makes a difference and it warms my heart when we receive it…with one exception — memorial donations.  I feel so honored, humbled, and appreciative when someone asks for memorial donations to be sent to us in honor of a loved one.  But, while I know that the money will absolutely be put to good use, I also feel a true sense of sadness because this money is coming to us because someone died.  I find comfort in knowing that the recently deceased person’s legacy will be furthered by this donation, just as my son’s is as well.

I received permission to share a recent thank-you note that I received from a recently widowed woman who directed memorial donations for her husband be sent to The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation.


Thank you for your letter and the breakdown of who gave in my husband’s name.  He had a miraculous 9 year battle with pancreatic cancer.  I am convinced that in addition to his amazing doctors, his sheer will and positive attitude greatly impacted his ability to keep tolerating treatment for so long.  That and acknowledging that as bad as he had it, others had it so much worse.  And, the worst he could imagine was losing a child to the same fate.  Our daughter found your foundation when she went through breast cancer 2 years ago and told us of the amazing work you do for children, their families, and research.  We are so very sorry for your loss, Joe.  And, we applaud your efforts to make a difference for others and are so happy to contribute.  My husband chose your organization without hesitation!  God bless.”

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


MAKE it a great weekend.


Ali & Andrew’s Dad