A Wonderful Time of Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. ‘Twas the day of the 2015 grants announcement from The V Foundation. Every employee was stirring; no time for a vacation. The proposals were sorted by the Scientific Advisory Committee with care, in hopes that an amazing research breakthrough would be found in there.

Don’t check your calendar. It’s not time to panic about your holiday shopping just yet. At The V Foundation, however, we have giving on the mind now. We have just proudly awarded our largest slate of grants to date – more than $20 million this year! Since 1993, we have awarded more than $150 million in cancer research grants.

Say it out loud – more than $150 million awarded to support cancer research. It’s music to the ears.

Awarding $20 million in grants in 2015 means that we have many generous supporters who want to see our mission fulfilled – an end to cancer. We have come together as a team to provide scientists and researchers some of the tools they need to stop cancer. Thank you for being a part of the team.

Almost $5 million of the 2015 grants awarded was for pediatric cancer research. Three of the grants have been given in honor or memory of children who have endured a cancer diagnosis. They were among the thousands who hear that diagnosis every year. Two of them did not survive.

Say it out loud – two of those children did not survive. It’s a punch to the stomach.

Pediatric cancer has seen progress in the last 40 years. Survival rates have gone up. That means we’re on the right path. But the journey is a long one, and we still have a way to go. Government funding of pediatric cancer is not enough to make the progress that we need. It wasn’t enough for kids like Dillon Simmons and Lauren Hill – the two mentioned above that did not survive. That’s why supporting organizations like The V Foundation is so important. We want more stories to end like Leah Still’s. She was diagnosed with cancer last year, and she is cancer free today.

We focused on Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month during September. We celebrated the survivors, applauded the fighters and remembered those we lost. Wouldn’t it be great if that sentence ended with “celebrated the survivors.”? Continue your support, and we will continue our work. And stay tuned. More progress is coming.

Among our fall 2015 grants, we awarded:

A $200,000 V Scholar Grant to Dr. Branden Moriarity at the University of Minnesota for research on pediatric sarcomas, in memory of Dillon Simmons.

A $600,000 Translational Award to Dr. Michelle Monje Deisseroth at Stanford for research in the area of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), in memory of Lauren Hill.

A $200,000 V Scholar Grant to Dr. Shizhen (Jane) Zhu at the Mayo Clinic for research on pediatric brain tumors, specifically neuroblastoma, in honor of Leah Still.