The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, is pleased to observe Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month this September. Since its inception, the V Foundation has awarded more than $25 million in pediatric cancer research grants. With just four percent of federal cancer research funding dedicated to pediatric cancer, the V Foundation is eager to make a significant impact in finding cures for the leading cause of death by disease in American children.
The V Foundation’s increased commitment to pediatric cancer research is championed by the efforts of its longtime Board Member and ESPN Hall of Fame Sportscaster Dick Vitale. Earlier this year, the 12th Annual Dick Vitale Gala raised a record-breaking $3.12 million for pediatric cancer research.
“Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month is vital for many of our young children battling the dreaded disease of cancer,” said Vitale. “We all must unite to provide dollars to fund research grants for various types of cancer afflicting children. I fully support this worthy initiative, which is very dear to my heart.”
The V Foundation has also teamed up with WWE and is in the second year of a multi-year partnership with Connor’s Cure. Founded by WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon and WWE Executive Vice President Talent, Live Events & Creative Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Connor’s Cure was established in honor of an 8-year-old WWE fan, Connor Michalek, who battled medulloblastoma, a rare tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord. Connor’s Cure has raised more than $2 million to support pediatric cancer research at institutions nationwide. In addition, funding will continue to support the research taking place at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
“WWE is proud to continue our partnership with the V Foundation in support of Connor’s Cure around Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month,” said McMahon. “Raising awareness and funds to help find a cure for pediatric cancer is imperative, and we are honored to once again join the V Foundation and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to fight this terrible disease.”
As a new supporter for the V Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company provided a $2.5 million grant that will be used for the advancement of pediatric immuno-oncology research.
“At Bristol-Myers Squibb, we are inspired by the hope of a future in which every person, young or old, who is diagnosed with cancer can live a longer, healthier life,” said Teresa Bitetti, Senior Vice President, U.S. Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Current treatments do not address all childhood cancers, and for those that do, treatments may be associated with challenges, such as secondary malignancies, later in life. We are focused on tackling childhood cancers from every angle, including through our own research, partnerships with other institutions and supporting incredible organizations like the V Foundation to help address these needs.”
In addition to support from Connor’s Cure and Bristol-Myers Squibb, in 2016, the V Foundation established the John Saunders Grant for Pediatric Cancer Research to commemorate the many years the founding member of the V Foundation Board of Directors spent working to end cancer and his passion for pediatric initiatives.
While some childhood cancer survival rates have dramatically improved, others remain very low. For example, per the National Cancer Institute, the average survival for children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is less than one year from diagnosis. In the U.S. alone, 12,000-15,000 children are newly diagnosed with cancer each year, and pediatric cancer research remains significantly underfunded. Nearly 2,000 die of cancer each year in the U.S., inspiring the V Foundation and its partners in their work to end the dreaded disease.