Local nonprofit focuses efforts on underfunded pediatric cancer research

Cincinnati Bengals’ Defensive Tackle Devon Still helped raise the national consciousness about pediatric cancer, but now it’s time to keep talking about it, says Ellen Flannery, co-founder of CancerFree KIDS.
 
“We’re so grateful to him for being so open about it, but we’d like to continue the conversation,” Flannery says.
 
CancerFree KIDS is a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that funds grants and forms alliances with researchers “to identify projects that need funding and make them happen.”
 
In the organization’s 12 years of existence, it’s raised about $2 million in research funding—most of which has directly benefited researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
 
“With all the money government puts into cancer research, less than four percent goes to childhood cancer research,” Flannery says. “There’s all these brilliant people trying to do research to save our kids’ lives and they can’t get funding to do it, so all these potentially life saving treatments aren’t even tried.”
 
CancerFree KIDS is working to help fill that void, but according to Flannery, it’s scary that a lack of funding is the primary barrier to curing cancer.
 
“A lot of people think the roadblocks to curing cancer are that the researchers are stumped—they don’t know what to do,” Flannery says. “But literally, it’s a lack of funding—they don’t have enough money to do the great research they want to do—so when you have a loved one who has cancer, it’s a ridiculous thing to think about. It’s just funding? We’re losing people everyday.”
 
More money needs to be put into saving lives, Flannery says, because there’s promise in the research being conducted.
 
The first grantee who was ever funded by CancerFree KIDS, for example, is about to see his research begin clinical trials.
 
“We thought it showed promise, and now he’s gone to get millions more in funding,” Flannery says. “Every animal they’ve tried it on, every type of cancer they’ve tried this drug on, it’s cured it—and that’s unheard of. It just goes to show—what if we hadn’t given that grant and he had never tried?”

Do Good:

•    Learn about the various football-related events and partnerships you can engage in to support CancerFree KIDS through its fourth-annual Tackle Childhood Cancer initiative. 

•    Text the word "tackle" to 80100 to donate $10 toward funding pediatric cancer research.

•    Support CancerFree KIDS by giving or attending upcoming events.
 

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a college educator, freelance writer, and the event producer for Ohio Civics Essential. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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