Get all the latest news by following our new Twitter handle: @CKc_Foundation.
Get all the latest news by following our new Twitter handle: @CKc_Foundation.
No parent or family member wants to hear those three words. No More Options. No child deserves to die. No child deserves to be given up on because there is nothing more that can be done to save their life.
However, the reality of childhood cancer tells us otherwise. At least 250 children around the world die from cancer every day. These 250 families know the devastating reality of hearing #NoMoreOptions.
We believe that together we can change this reality. Funding pediatric cancer research isn’t just a nice thing to do… it is critically necessary to save the lives of children who need us to fight for them. We can’t fund research without your support. Research Is The Key.
The pain, the guilt, the suffering, the sadness that infiltrates the lives of the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and all of those who have loved a child who has died from cancer is real and crippling. A few courageous families have allowed us to take a personal look into their pain. A pain experienced exponentially by those who were touched by one of the 90,000 children lost to cancer each year worldwide.
This September, we hope you take a few minutes to watch these videos and educate yourself and others about the critical need for funding pediatric cancer research. We can make a difference. Please join us in putting an end to #NoMoreOptions.
Due to the incredible support of our CKc Community, our second annual Gold Gala, held on April 1st, raised $300,000 for pediatric cancer research. The money will go towards funding three new innovative pediatric cancer trials. This year’s gala, our foundation’s premiere fundraising event of the year, sold out with 300 attendees and doubled the amount raised from the first gala held in 2016, which raised $150,000. The three new trials will each receive a grant award of $100,000, with two trials receiving their first installment within weeks of the gala.
“I am blown away by the support our foundation has received. To raise $300,000 from only our second gala is a huge accomplishment. However, I am even more proud knowing the money is not sitting in our bank account and that, within the next few weeks, it is going directly to fund potentially life-saving research for children’s cancer,” said Melissa Wiggins, co-founder and executive director of Cannonball Kids’ cancer. “As our motto states, Research Is The Key!”
– A $100,000 grant to Dr. Gregory Friedman at University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) to help fund the expansion of a first-of-its-kind virus immunotherapy trial aimed at saving lives and lessening side effects for children fighting brain cancer. The grant was awarded in honor of Julia Cox, from St. Petersburg, Fla., who died in March 2017 at the age of three from neuroblastoma that had spread to her brain and wasn’t treatable.
– A $100,000 grant to be named the Nolan King Research Grant. During the CKc Gold Gala, the CKc leadership team heard the devastating news of the passing of Nolan King, of Orlando, Fla., at just three years old. The team learned there was no trial available for Nolan, who was fighting relapsed hepatoblastoma, and decided the night of the gala to fund a trial in Nolan’s name for the first-ever trial for relapsed/refractory hepatoblastoma. CKc is currently reviewing an application and meeting with a team in Texas for this trial and hopes to have an announcement soon.
– A $100,000 grant to Dr. David Munn and Dr. Theodore Johnson of Augusta University, Georgia Cancer Center, to expand the first trial CKc funded in 2015, due to the success of the trial thus far. The immunotherapy phase-one clinical trial was originally focused on pediatric brain cancers. The money from CKc will allow the same immunotherapy science to now be used in treating other types of pediatric cancers.
On January 27th, CKc’s new Board of Directors met for the first time. We could not be more proud and excited to introduce the new board to you! Our 12 amazing professionals come from five states and two countries. The depth and variety of their industry expertise is immense and we know this board is as passionate as we are to grow CKc. We look forward to working with our new board members during their three-year appointment.
In January, we awarded a $100,000 grant to fund a clinical trial for DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), a deadly pediatric cancer with zero long-term survivors. The trial is the first-of-its-kind in the U.S. and will be led by Dr. Sabine Mueller at the Benioff Children’s Hospital, University of California, San Francisco. Over the next two years, up to 18 children on the trial will receive the potentially life-changing treatment for DIPG. This trial has a promising outlook for treatment of DIPG, and could impact the drug delivery system for other types of brain cancer as well, saving more children’s lives. The grant was awarded in honor of Gabriella Miller of Washington D.C., who would have turned 14 this month. Gabriella passed away in 2013 at the age of nine from DIPG, just 11½ months after diagnosis.
Congratulations to Alex Hurd, CKc’s first-ever Youth Ambassador. Alex, of Greenville, South Carolina and a senior at Westminster Schools of Augusta, is inspired and dedicated to helping educate others about the need for increased pediatric cancer research funding and we are honored to reward this young lady for her efforts.
The CKc Youth Advocate recognition program supports an important pillar of CKc’s mission – to educate for change. The program also helps inspire the next generation of doctors, scientists and non-profit leaders who can continue to fight for more funding, innovative research and better treatments for children fighting cancer.
Throughout her high school career, Alex has written essays, given speeches and entered contests to educate the community on pediatric cancer issues. She has shadowed an occupational therapist and volunteered at a research lab in Atlanta. She will be attending the University of Alabama this fall and plans to pursue occupational therapy school. She wants to work with children surviving pediatric cancer.
The Hi5 Bible Study in Ponte Vedra, Florida, did us proud at CKc by holding a CKc Card Club event. The group, around 20 sixth grade girls, were devastated by the loss of one of their friends in her battle to cancer just the week before their gathering. Expressing interest in doing something to honor her memory, one of their leaders, Cari Earle, suggested a CKc card club.
“We encourage them to think of others and make a difference. They chose to make cards for kids with cancer,” said Cari.
After a devotion and some sweet treats, the girls decorated their cards. Along with their cards, they sent in a $100 donation to CKc.
Way to go, Hi5 Bible Study! We and, more importantly the kids that received your cards, are so grateful for your thoughtfulness and support.
CycleBar Spinning Fundraiser
A big thank you to CYCLEBAR in Winter Park, FL, for hosting a super fun, high-energy fundraiser for CKc! Thirty-six CKc supporters came out to cycle, sweat, laugh and, most importantly, raise money to help us fund pediatric cancer research! This one class of riders raised $900 for CKc! Thank you, again, to Winter Park CycleBar and everyone who came out to support us. We can’t wait for the next one!
Sponsorships are rolling in for our 2nd Annual Gold Gala on April 1st! We would love to give recognition to the sponsors who have committed to helping us raise funds to eradicate pediatric cancer! We can’t wait for April 1st! If you have not yet purchased your tickets, please visit our event web site to purchase your tickets online today:
EVOK Advertising Agency – https://www.evokad.com
Hackers for Hope – http://hackersforhope.org/index.html
Women’s Care of FL – http://www.womenscarefl.com/find-a-care-group/central-florida-care-groups/ob-gyn-specialists/about-us
Processing Point, Ic. – http://processingpoint.com
McDonald Toole Wiggins, PA – http://www.mtwlegal.com
GEO-MED, LLC – http://geomedsdvo.com
Orlando Freightliner – http://www.orlandofreightliner.com
ABC Bus Companies – http://www.abc-companies.com
XL Soccer World Orlando – http://www.xlsoccerworldorlando.com
Xenia Hotels & Resorts – http://www.xeniareit.com
Zero Chaos – http://www.zerochaos.com
Bowen, Miclette & Britt Insurance – https://www.bmbinc.com
Travel Tabs – http://traveltab.com
Michael and Martha Brown
Elan Group – http://www.elan-group.com
Pentair Aquatic Systems – http://pentairaes.com
Hale, Hale & Jacobson – http://hhjlegal.com
Orange County Glass – http://www.orangecountyglassorlando.com
Liz McCausland, PA – http://www.lizlawfirm.com
Keiron Partners – http://www.keironpartners.com
Christopher Scott D’Angelo
Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC – http://www.irwinllc.com
Community Sponsors –
Ponall Law – http://www.ponalllaw.com
Littler Mendelson – https://www.littler.com
Mumma Bear Blog: Progress and Change
It’s been a minute since I blogged. Frankly, and you all know I like to talk frankly, the new position of Executive Director and creating a new Board to support us has been very time consuming. I am coming up for air… but not for long. 🙂 I have some 15 out-of-state visits on the calendar this year alone. CKc is making waves. Not to brag on Michael and I, but truly to brag on our whole team. Our team is making waves. Our board, volunteers and our team. Little by little things are changing, and we won’t stop.
What change and how?
Michael and I were invited by George Bodenheimer, the former CEO and President of ESPN, to speak at an event last night in Naples, FL, for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The foundation was founded in 1993 by ESPN and legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano with one goal in mind: to achieve victory over cancer. Michael and I often take turns or tag team speaking engagements, but last night my sports-enthusiast husband stood tall alone, and spoke so perfectly. If you have not heard him speak before, his passion runs through his veins and the room was silent hanging on his every word.
After his speech, at least 20 people approached us saying our story moved them and that they NEVER KNEW the facts about pediatric cancer. Our promise at CKc is that we will not stop until everyone knows the TRUE facts of pediatric cancer and the horror it is. The underfunding! The adult therapies used on kids! The list is endless. It proves to Michael and I that CKc has much work to do to educate for change. Educating for change has been at the core of our mission since before CKc existed and we were just two parents talking about how awful our son was doing. It remains at the core today, and will continue do so, until everyone is educated… until there is change.
To further illustrate the encouragement we received for educating about pediatric cancer, George had asked us to bring to the event some copies of our book, “Thankful For The Fight”, and after Michael spoke, we had to go back to the car to get more books because we gave them all out! It really was so special to see people want to know more about pediatric cancer. It is fire in my belly!
The V Foundation is possibly the most well-known, adult cancer research foundation known in the U.S. A board filled with celebs and making tens of millions of dollars every single year. Thanks to George, Dick Vitale and Kristen and Buster Posey, pediatric cancer has become a huge priority to the foundation. So much so that the V Foundation just started an entire grant just for pediatric cancer called the John Saunders Research Grant for Pediatrics. How amazeballs is this? Plus, Cannon has been invited to Dick Vitale’s event in May where he will stand proud with some other warriors and raise money for pediatric cancer research!
This, as many of you know, is not the first time, per our mission to educate for change, that a primarily adult-based cancer research foundation has looked to fund more pediatric cancer research in light of being educated about the lack of funding and archaic treatments.
Please know my husband spoke about his father who had fought lung cancer and has now passed, as well as being a father to a son who has battled cancer. This is NOT about saying kids are more important than adults… this is about saying they are AT LEAST EQUAL to adults! So, let’s rethink how money for cancer research is distributed and let’s make kids a priority, because without funding and new treatments, these kids are dying. Seven children a day in the U.S.! Seven are being buried today! That is NOT okay! Cancer is the number ONE killer of children by disease! Let’s change that!
The V Foundation wants to discuss partnering on a pediatric cancer research project with CKc and we are excited to talk that through along with our friends Buster and Kristen Posey, who are huge supporters of the V Foundation.
Please, please, please buy your tickets for our CKc Gold Gala on April 1st in Orlando. Bagpipers! A butterfly release! Whisky and cigars for the men and the women – I don’t mind the odd cigar myself! Fire pits! Lakeside venue! I promise it will be incredible! This year our REAL founder Master Cannonball Wiggins will be attending for a short period to show off his kilt! You’re welcome! 😉
This is Michael. As we approach the close of 2016, there is so much to look back upon and be thankful. Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation funded, thanks to many of you who follow this page, four clinical trials with researchers in Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan. In addition, we have been hard at work at the end of this year to raise $100,000 to fund a fifth trial in California at the beginning of 2017. We need your help to accomplish this goal. Please consider making an end of year donation to help give us the push we need to reach $100,000 and to help us save lives.
The researchers heading our trials are engaging other pediatric oncologists around the world to help them enroll children who have most regrettably been given no other options for continued treatment. And, so far, at least 33 children have been enrolled in these trials and someday the results may lead to better and more effective treatment for cancers found in children and quite possibly a cure.
We can’t do what we want to do for “our kids” with cancer without you. I have said this many times, but it bears repeating here at this time of year: since Cannon was diagnosed and Melissa and I received an education of how poorly children with cancer are treated by ineffective and antiquated treatments, I never go a day without thinking about the parents each day that will hear an oncologist tell them that their child has cancer, and worse, the parents that have woken and dressed that morning to go to the funeral and burial of their child devastatingly lost to cancer.
Cancer in children is wrong. It is unjust. It is unnecessary. CKc intends to do something about it and to make change through research. Funding innovative research. If you are considering making a charitable donation in these last days of 2016, we would be honored if you would consider CKc. And, gifts of appreciated stock, bonds or mutual funds are a great way to make a tax deductible donation because you will get a charitable deduction for the full market value of the stock or bond and avoid paying capital gains on the increase in the value of the securities.
Thank you all, again, for what CKc has become. Next year promises bigger and better and, most importantly, additional funding of more clinical trials in our quest to find better and specific treatments for children with cancer and to ultimately achieve the day when cancer does not exist in children.
We can do it, and we intend to.
Please take a few minutes to watch this fantastic video about the difference Kristen and Buster Posey are making in the world of pediatric cancer. Michael, Melissa and Cannon had the privilege of meeting the Poseys this past September in San Francisco. This video features some footage of their time together and the joy Cannon experienced at the ballpark. Priceless!! Cannonball Kids’ cancer thanks Buster and Kristen for joining the fight against pediatric cancer and helping to create awareness about the number ONE killer of children by disease. We are honored to know you and to fight along with you.
How do you tell a child you love they are going to die? Seven children every day die from pediatric cancer, the number one killer by disease in children. Unacceptable. Cannonball Kids’ cancer exists to fund research that gives hope and saves lives for the 50,000 children in the U.S. who are fighting to live. Kids like Coulter. Coulter is alive because of donations from people just like you. Together we funded a trial that has given Coulter a chance to live. We believe Research Is The Key and you hold that key in your hands! Please help us make possible the gift of hope for 15 more children by the end of this year. Together, we will unlock a cure!
Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation
To: CKc Community
From: Melissa Wiggins
Date: October 3, 2016
Subject: A Very Exciting CKc Announcement
Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation is at an exciting crossroads! As we approach the end of year two of our nonprofit status, we have choices to make. We can be a small, local foundation funding a few trials every year or we can become the national pediatric cancer research giant that I KNOW we can. But that means change, so we are changing up our team in order to accommodate our growth. For this reason I am stepping down from CKc’s Board and taking on the role of leading our foundation to that national foundation status that can impact pediatric cancer in the way we want and need it to. Effective December 1, 2016, I will be the Executive Director at Cannonball Kids’ cancer. This is a great transition point now that Cannon has completed treatment which will allow me to step into this exciting role. Along with my legal training and background as a lawyer (solicitor), I have been training with the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership and I am ready to take on this challenge!
On a personal note, Cannon kicked cancer’s ass and I plan on following in his footsteps by traveling the US to find innovative, less toxic, less painful clinical trials for the kids battling. Our programs include education and we have seen some major fruits of our labor this year, most notably the impact on the Buster and Kristen Posey Foundation and their brave and mighty goal to hit pediatric cancer out of the park – which they will do! Our mission remains pure and simple – educate to eradicate. Let’s educate and encourage change and fund clinical trials!
This past weekend, the Board voted on this change. I want to be accountable because when people donate or invest in CKc, I want them to know I am working hard to deliver!
Michael, who is a founding partner in his law firm at McDonald, Toole and Wiggins and has been a managing partner for 6 years, will lead our Board as Chair. Technically, this makes him my boss. If that doesn’t show my dedication to pediatric cancer I don’t know what will! Seriously though, not only is he a nationally recognized litigator and speaker, he is an incredible leader and his passion for this cause is unparalleled. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him be our leader.
Our current CEO, Ashley VanDerMark, singlehandedly got CKc off of the ground while Michael and I focused on Cannonball’s treatment. She will now take lead on the Board with Michael as Vice Chair. She is dynamic and brilliant and with her by Michael’s side developing the Board I know CKc will stay on mission and be sustainable for the long term. Aside from Michael and myself, no one understands and fights for our core mission more than she does. CKc is extremely lucky to have this extraordinary community leader.
So it’s change… but it’s good change! Great change, in fact, because it’s for the betterment of our foundation.
My commitment to you, the investor, volunteer and supporter of CKc, is that if at the end of 2017 I have NOT delivered, I will step down immediately! We pride ourselves on transparency and accountability and will do whatever it takes to fulfill our mission. Quitters never win and winners never quit and I plan on winning for the kids battling and taken by cancer!
I believe I can do this! I am ready to lead CKc into 2017 for its most successful year thus far!
Please read this important last post for Childhood cancer Awareness Month.
Written by Michael and Melissa Wiggins
This is Michael. Today is the last day of Childhood cancer Awareness Month. I am sorry to see the month end. Not because I don’t want breast cancer to have its awareness month in October or because other causes and charities don’t deserve to be recognized, but because our children deserve more. We try every September to educate and make aware, as many people as we can, of the struggle that parents and advocates for children have every day to try to improve treatments for children with cancer. The hope is that by funding more research, by helping more young medical students, fellow and interns, by asking our government leaders to fund pediatric cancer research at the National Institute of Health, that less and less kids will have to go through the absolute hell of cancer treatment and ultimately, we will find a cure for cancer in children.
I will write this post today and then step away from posting and writing on the CKc page and social media sites. I will continue to advocate and speak about why CKc so passionately believes that we must right a societal wrong, but Melissa, Ashley, Debra and many others in our organization are more diplomatic about this subject and frankly do a better job. I suppose it is part of my DNA to go as hard as we can for what we believe is the right thing to do and to not apologize or worry about people’s feelings when it comes to justice for children that are dying. I think many of the nurses at the hospitals where Cannon was treated would agree that my diplomatic skills when it came to Cannon’s treatment and what he endured were absent.
In our book, “Thankful For The Fight”, there is a piece I wrote that pretty much sums up what Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation is all about. In less than 10 sentences, it explains the passion we have for finding a cure and less painful treatments for kids diagnosed with all 12 types of cancer found in children. I will let it be our last set of facts for Childhood cancer Awareness Month:
“Melissa and I have seen it all, and I nearly shake in anger and my eyes well up when I see my son suffering yet again, from an IV needle that has come out and has to be replaced, or his nausea from receiving multiple medications, or his eyes rolling back from so much morphine to shut off some of the pain, or when I contemplate the fact that he has not eaten a single crumb since Sunday night because he feels too ill to do so, or I see him stumble on his feet because his legs have no strength after lying in bed listlessly for days.
THIS is the world of kids’ cancer. This is it. It’s not kids with bald heads holding balloons, a stuffed animal or a toy and smiling. It’s just not, and perhaps the reason why kids’ cancer gets so little attention in our world is because most would like to have it painted this way.
Never forget, every day parents bury children lost to cancer. Every day when you are getting ready for work, your day, school or an adventure, there are others also dressing and preparing, but to attend the funeral of their child, the average age of eight… dead and gone forever and so unjustly and, in our opinion, needlessly. It is wrong. Please help Melissa and me continue this fight.” (May, 2014)
Mumma Bear here…
This is my ASK on the last day of Childhood cancer Awareness Month.
Please help us end this year by funding another trial! I get it – we already funded three, but we want one more! Help us help save kids with cancer! One more trial could potentially help 15 more kids… 15! That’s a kindergarten class, guys. The average age of death for kids with cancer is 8!
We not only want to create hope in families so that no one hears the words “there are NO MORE options for your child”, but we want to create hope for clinical oncologists who are working on cures! We have Request For Applications (RFA) that need funding at CKc! We can fund them after the Gala next year, but what about the 45 new kids diagnosed TODAY?! Or the 7 that will be buried today? What about them? We don’t have time on our hands! These kids DON’T! Doctors who have ideas and solutions to the current pediatric cancer situation NEED FUNDING to create HOPE! With your help we could potentially help 15 kids and their families not be told to go home on hospice and instead be given hope through a groundbreaking trial.
I appreciate that funding clinical research isn’t sexy and that you don’t get to feel and touch it or have your name on it, BUT I promise nothing you can touch can get any closer to a cure for kids dying of cancer than this. Nothing!
Research is the key!
Our goal between now and December is to get $75,000 so we can call the oncology researchers and tell them their trial has been funded so they can start enrolling kids – TODAY!
If you feel compelled, please consider sending a check to P.O. Box 547797, Orlando, FL 32854 or donate online at http://www.cannonballkidscancer.org/donate-to-ckc/
Let’s start saving lives – together – today!
CANNONBALL KIDS' CANCER FOUNDATION IS A 501(c)(3) NON-PROFIT COMMUNITY SERVICE ORGANIZATION. CANNONBALL KIDS' CANCER FOUNDATION'S REGISTRATION NUMBER IS CH41586. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE, 1-800-435-7352 WITHIN THE STATE OF FLORIDA OR BY VISITING www.800helpfla.com. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.