Meriam Webster deﬁnes collaboration (kəˌlabəˈrāSHən) as the action of working together with someone to produce or create something.
Here at the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF), collaboration is the engine that drives change for pediatric cancer care. Change that will ultimately become lifesaving treatments for kids facing a cancer diagnosis, still the number one cause of death by disease for 19-year-olds and younger.
Transforming pediatric cancer care is a team effort – one that takes researchers, patients and a determined community whose insistent and tenacious drive for progress knows no limits.
Our 25th annual Reaching for the Cure is a stellar example of how collaboration creates success. I cannot resist recognizing three teams who embody the fervor for innovation that all of us at PCRF embrace. There are others, but the leadership and unifying power of these three particularly inspired me.
Carter Strong Forever—Jamie and Tim Ankeny and their family have been ﬁerce fundraisers for PCRF ever since their son Carter passed away six years ago. They know that it was the toxic drugs used to treat Carter’s cancer that took his life and they have been on a crusade ever since to accelerate the discovery of safer treatments. The Ankenys have stopped at nothing to raise money for research, coordinating fundraisers with local Pilates businesses and dance studios; co-leading the Fountain Valley School District to go “gold” on International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day; and leading top-performing fundraising teams at Reaching for the Cure for six years. Jamie, Tim and Taylor, you are a veritable force. We are lucky that you are on our team!
Team Bailey Strong – In spite of losing Bailey to DIPG in February, her family and friends showed us what it means to be brave and resilient. Less than six weeks after their devastating loss, Bailey’s family turned out with 75 people and a baton-twirling brigade to cast a special spotlight on her memory. They have vowed to support future research in hopes of shielding other families from their experience. Thank you for believing in our work to advance the kind of progress that would aptly memorialize Bailey.
Aristotle Jones and Team Deloitte – Aristotle survived his bout of ALL after three and a half years of treatment. Thankful and energized, today he seizes every chance to talk about his experience and passionately advocates for research funding. After graduating college, he joined Deloitte, one of the founding sponsors of the Race, and quickly went to work revitalizing Deloitte’s Reaching for the Cure team. That was 2020 – the year the world shut down.
Fast-forward three years and a team more than 50–people strong turned out this year, raising much-appreciated awareness and capital for research.
I laud and appreciate all of our teams and donors who give so much to help advance research. We literally could not do what we do without you.
It is not necessary to run a half marathon or toss a baton to propel research forward. At PCRF, we extend open arms to all mission-driven change-makers who wish to join our team. By working together with tenacity and focus, we will succeed in changing the trajectory of pediatric cancer care so all kids living with cancer can spread their wings and soar.