Often our fiercest advocates, there are several ways that these brave change-makers advance progress.
Bridge To A Cure Foundation was established to find cures for childhood cancer after the devastating loss of founder Bob Martin’s granddaughter Clara to a brain tumor in 2017. It was the Martin family’s hope that other children with cancer wouldn’t have to suffer the way she did. Thousands of families like Bob’s are facing a horrific journey after a childhood brain tumor diagnosis. Fueled by their pain and anger, patient families sometimes become some of the fiercest advocates for childhood cancer research.
There’s a common thread that bridges us all together to save lives.
Family-run foundations are at the heart of finding cures to childhood brain cancer. Each foundation shows up in different ways. Through different initiatives, powerful partnerships can grow. Because, although we might have different mission statements, we all agree on one thing: no child or family should suffer from this devastating disease ever again.
Foundations make a huge impact when it comes to childhood cancer research. Impacts such as:
Creating legacies. Behind every piece of data collected is a child. This is something that Swifty Foundation understands to their core. After their son Michael was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, he developed his Master Plan to find cures — a plan that his family continues to pursue today. By nurturing relationships, hammering out logistics, and developing workflows, Gift from a Child was born. This program includes six Centers of Excellence who have been a part of developing pre-clinical models of the disease. The gifts of tumor tissue is processed at Bridge To A Cure Foundation collaborator Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN). These gifts of tumor tissue allow these precious children to leave a legacy and enable a bit of peace during what is a difficult time for those facing a dangerous diagnosis.
Legislative action. Through the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, over $88 million has been raised for childhood research. This Act was bound to do big things since it was named for an amazing childhood cancer patient and advocate, Gabriella Miller. This momentous initiative is the legacy that Gabriella’s parents built after her heartbreaking passing at age 11. Now, we’ve teamed up with Gabriella’s mother, Ellyn Miller, to fight for the passing of Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0, a bill that generates new funds for childhood cancer research—a bill that doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny and will never sunset. Instead, fines from companies that break the law would be channeled directly to critical medical research. You can learn about how Bridge To A Cure is supporting the amazing Kids First 2.0 initiative here.
Enlisting scientific collaborators to accelerate breakthroughs. With a 37-state reach and a self-described “loud voice,” Kim MacNeill of the Ross K MacNeill Foundation has been a force for collaboration and open-access when it comes to medical research, particularly for pediatric brain cancer. After the tragic loss of her son Ross to a form of brain cancer, Kim was set on doing absolutely everything in her power to make sure future children and parents didn’t have to go through what They went through. The Ross K MacNeill Foundation research investments focus on those who prioritize a patient-first approach. They have supported CBTN and their open-access model and been a part of amazing new research initiative such as a phase 1 vaccine trial that will help the body’s immune system to fight against tumor growth or occurrence. On top of this, Kim advocates to other researchers and stakeholders to “buy-in” to the CBTN model, so that other breakthrough projects can happen.
Pushing big data for bigger discoveries. In partnership with CBTN, Amanda Haddock and her team at Dragon Master Foundation work to develop and expand CAVATICA; a free, open access research platform that enables doctors and scientists to easily share, search, and analyze large collections of patient data. The Haddock family discovered that many researchers they consulted during their teen son David’s brain tumor journey could not access enough information necessary to provide the best treatment options. Sadly, David passed away after a 20-month fight, but it was his wish that other kids be spared the devastation of this disease. Like Bridge To A Cure Foundation, they’ve been at the forefront of driving data sharing and research collaboration.
Bridge To A Cure is honored to partner with such amazing foundations and families. Like us, they know loss, heartache, and what it means to want to fight back against pediatric brain tumors. Like them, Bridge To A Cure disrupts the status quo as we build bridges that can restore hope to hundreds of thousands of families devastated by childhood cancer.
Coming Together To Find Cures
Foundation president Robert Martin sits on the CBTN Executive Board to help direct its vision and priorities. In addition, Bridge To A Cure Foundation actively participates in the CBTN Executive Council—and now integrates a new, collaborative effort of dedicating our time and talent to supporting the amazing work being done by the Network. These aligned family foundations, which are often the fiercest advocates in children’s brain cancer research, also sit on the organization’s executive council. Together, the CBTN executive council has raised millions of dollars for research. We make vital connections, pave the way for legislative change, push technological innovation in healthcare, and contribute to the most impactful breakthroughs towards cures for childhood brain cancer in over 40 years. This is just the beginning.
Even though childhood brain cancer is the most deadly form of cancer in children, it is one of the least funded in cancer research, period. Through meaningful partnerships between the Children’s Brain Tumor Network, Bridge To A Cure Foundation, and other amazing foundations like the four mentioned here, big things are happening.
Let us never forget what was lost—and show gratitude for the efforts of these initiatives so that, in the near future, children no longer have to suffer. Through the collaborative efforts of CBTN and dedicated family-led foundations, we will cut the childhood cancer death rate 50% by 2030.
To this end, we’ve created a new Bridge To A Cure-CBTN Fun. Donate to help the Bridge To A Cure Foundation coalition here.