Ellie Collins, a fourteen-year-old girl, recently had to experience the loss of a dear friend to childhood cancer. His name was Patrick Chance and he was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma at the age of three. On his birthday, six years later, Patrick lost his battle with cancer.
Ellie could have felt defeated. She could have been angry that her friend had been taken from this world by such a terrible disease. Instead, Ellie found motivation and hope in the future of medicine and the eventual cure of childhood cancer.
Inspired, Ellie wrote an essay for her school contest entitled “Making Hope” that discussed CURE Childhood Cancer, our mission and our vision. Her essay was chosen as a finalist and she was asked to give a speech in front of 250 people.
We are truly blown away by Ellie’s amazing essay and her words of confidence in the work that CURE is doing.
Ellie has allowed us to share her essay to the CURE community. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did. Thank you Ellie!
On January 14, I attended a dear friend of mine’s funeral. Patrick Roberts Chance died on his birthday. He had just turned nine years old. At age three, Patrick was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. Six years later, the cancer had spread and he could no longer fight. Out of the thousands of children, according to the National Cancer Institute, that die each year from pediatric cancer, Patrick is just one. CURE Childhood Cancer is an Atlanta based organization dedicated to finding the cure for pediatric cancer. The money they collect each year funds targeted research and supports patients and their families on their grueling fight with cancer. CURE has made a difference in the thousands of kid’s lives affected by pediatric cancer each year. Their research and support give hope to the families who have little hope left.
In 1975, Dr.Abdel Ragab, Emory University’s first pediatric oncologist or cancer doctor, saw the need for money to support funding for research. Dr.Ragab also saw the desperate need for support with the families spending countless days and nights in the cancer ward at the hospital. Volunteers started funding immediately and in 1989, they had raised enough money to move the research lab from Grady Hospital to Emory Campus, where most of the patients were being treated. When CURE was established there was a survival rate of ten percent and amazingly the survival rate is now eighty percent.
Being a very unique organization, CURE has a program that trains future pediatric oncologists. According to the official CURE website, “While many organizations craft their treatments, programs, and even faculties based on what today’s medicine has to offer, we’re doing something a bit different. We’re looking to the future. To the medicine of tomorrow and all it has to offer kids with childhood cancer.” CURE’s research program is now one of the largest pediatric oncology programs in the country. With the money they raise, they support many research facilities. These include the AFLAC Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Specifically, they focus on Leukemia, Bone marrow transplant, Glioma, Osteosarcoma, AML, Neuroblastoma, Medulloblastoma, and Survivorship. Presently, they are working on a new drug for AML with promising results.
One very special part of CURE is their patient and family support program. The entire program is made entirely of volunteers. There are three main programs: Early Outreach, Critical Needs Care, and Caring for the Caregiver. Early Outreach provides families whose kids have been diagnosed support and resources for their journey with cancer. Critical Needs Care tends to the most critical and urgent needs of patients and their families with giving meals, financial aid, and support for death. Caring for the Caregiver takes care of all the nurses and doctors working with the patients by bringing food and honoring them on special days. Programs sponsored by CURE try to make every family battling cancer as comfortable as possible, and bring some joy into their life.
Everyday you hear about kids battling cancer, but CURE has taken the next step and has set up funds honoring some heroes among us. Some examples of these funds are: The Hayley Hunter Research Fund, The Sam Robb Fund, and Press On to CURE Childhood Cancer honoring Patrick Chance and Brennan Simkins. Events are held annually to raise money and awareness for all their funds, also they raise money to support the organization itself. All of CURE’s exceptional work and volunteers have won it the Charity Navigator’s Highest Rating and other outstanding awards.
Organizations like CURE are changing lives by bringing hope to children and their loved ones with their life changing research and heartfelt support program. To the thousands affected by cancer each year, CURE is like a super hero bringing the little hope they have into their lives. Instead of flying men with capes, their heroes are dressed in scrubs and do something very similar to the flying superheroes. They save lives.