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Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Heyer and Lesley Hundley

The ChadTough Foundation partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) this year for the first time to jointly fund additional DIPG research. Last month, our very own Lesley Hundley, Director of Operations, attended ALSF’s Innovation Summit in Philadelphia. More than 70 ALSF-funded researchers and 20 charity partners came together to learn from each other through fascinating presentations, stimulating discussions, as well as a chance to connect with others in the field.

“There is a sense of urgency amongst us to find solutions,” said Lesley. “We spoke a lot on how collaboration can help us build on the signs of progress, speed things up even more, and help each other with the work we are doing.”

In the spirit of growing that collaboration, ALSF has launched the Crazy 8 Initiative with the purpose of detailing roadmaps for cures for specific, hard-to-treat childhood cancers and pressing topics of the childhood cancer community. One of the eight key pediatric oncology disciplines this research will fund are high grade gliomas. The research priorities are immunotherapy, development of new drug targets, and drugging currently “undruggable” pediatric cancer drivers.

“What struck me the most,” said Lesley, “was sitting in the room with 20 other pediatric cancer charities and realizing that most of the room was filled with parents who had lost a child to cancer or had a child who had survived cancer. For some, this cancer battle may have been 30 years ago, and some were in just the past couple years. And they all wanted to do something to fight for kids. The passion, commitment, and compassion of this group was so admirable. It just made me think about where pediatric cancer research would be without these families advocating and raising money. In some cases, these parents have made the ultimate sacrifice and they continue to do everything they can so that our kids can have better outcomes.”

Lesley also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Wolf-Dietrich Heyer of the University of California, Davis. The ChadTough Foundation along with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation are jointly supporting his grant. Dr. Heyer’s study is on the creation of a drug for high-grade brain cancers. His strategy of personalized, or precision medicine would create a situation that kills only tumor cells, not normal cells.

“When we all come together to work collaboratively, amazing things begin to happen,” said Liz Scott, ALSF Co-Executive.

The ChadTough Foundation is honored to be part of this collaboration!

Group Shot photo: Charity Partners