Saturday, September 13, 2014

All it takes is a Community

     John and I would like to thank everyone who supported the Lemonade and Love for Sam Luau last weekend…all of you who helped organize, set-up,  run a stand, or clean-up; or who donated time, money, and energy to this great event—Thank You!!!  I don’t know how many people ended up coming, but it was a lot.  We raised a lot of money (still being counted) and a lot of awareness for the childhood cancer cause….and we couldn’t be more proud of everyone who participated and contributed and helped make this happen.  Many of you came from near and far to be a part of it and we want you to know that we appreciate each and every one of you and all of your efforts!

     Speaking of raising awareness and money for childhood cancer, for the last few months John and I have been working on setting up our own non-profit charitable foundation.  We are proud to now be able to announce that the Samuel Jeffers Childhood Cancer Foundation is a reality!  We received our Letter of Determination granting us 501-c-3 tax exempt status from the IRS on Tuesday this week, culminating several months of paperwork and some deep thinking.

     We thought long and hard about the pros and cons of forming our own Foundation.  We are aware that there are many other such foundations—often formed by families just like ours, who have lost a child to cancer.  And we are aware that we are perhaps contributing to the problem of having too many organizations spread too thin to do much good.  We seriously considered just concentrating our efforts on only one or two childhood cancer organizations, so that we could have the most impact with our limited resources. 
But in the end, we decided to move forward with Sam’s Foundation (whose tagline is “Cooking up a Cure for Childhood Cancer”) because we would like to make an impact on a somewhat narrower—but desperately in need of help—segment of the childhood cancer landscape.    

     One of the most pressing problems with childhood cancer is that childhood cancer is not just one disease.  There are many different types and many more subtypes, each one requiring specific and unique research to develop the best method of treatment. 

     While we have (very thankfully) been successful at treating certain types of pediatric cancer—thanks to increased awareness and a modicum of funding—the success rates for many of the other types of pediatric cancer are not good.  These rarer types of childhood cancer are not so rare when viewed as a whole, as together they account for a good portion of all childhood cancers.  Because so few children are diagnosed with these specific rarer types, little research is done on each one separately. 

     A sort of “vicious circle” therefore exists with respect to most types of pediatric cancer:  They are rare enough that little awareness exists and very little or no research is being done; therefore no new drugs or therapies are developed; therefore children affected by some of these types of cancers are sentenced to almost certain death.  No child should ever have to face that kind of future.  We hope Sam’s Foundation will be able to make a positive impact on some of these rarer types of children’s cancer.

     Having our own Foundation doesn’t mean that we are abandoning Alex’s Lemonade Stand or St. Baldrick’s.  On the contrary, we will continue to support these great organizations and their missions to end childhood cancer.  They are doing great work and they continue to run “lean and mean” in the fight against kids’ cancer, by holding their expenses down and contributing an above-average amount of donated funds to directly support children’s cancer. 

     We will partner with these organizations where we can and fund our own research projects when feasible, and together we hope to make an impact that will change the lives of children forever.  And we thank all of you for helping us in this mission.

Here's a sampling of the community that made this event happen.
The Lemonade Moms: Erl K., Harmony B., Michelle D., Mary M.
The crowd