Cary, N.C. (April 25, 2023) – The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top cancer research charity, is partnering with Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation (JGCF), led by vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, to co-fund three All-Star Grant awards valued at $1 million each and dedicated to pediatric cancer research. The $1.5 million gift, which is matched by the V Foundation to bring the total to $3 million, will spur innovative cancer research to strengthen pediatric cancer treatment and cures in the future. The partnership was announced on March 11 at the V Foundation’s second annual Sonoma Epicurean event in Sonoma, Calif., with this year’s event focused on funding pediatric cancer research.
“We look forward to a day when cancer is no longer the number one cause of death by disease for kids,” said Gordon. “But until then, we are incredibly excited to partner with the V Foundation in the race to beat it.”
The V Foundation has awarded $66.7 million in research grants through the Dick Vitale Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children, but the good news is research is helping to save lives. The five-year survival rate for children (0-14) has increased from 58% to 84.7% from the mid-1970s to 2017. For adolescents (15-19), it has increased from 68% to 85.8% during that same time period.
Founded in 1999, Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation is laser-focused on improving outcomes for kids fighting cancer. Ever since Gordon’s rookie season in NASCAR’s Cup Series when his crew chief’s infant son was diagnosed with leukemia, Gordon has pursued pediatric cancer with the same trademark intensity as he pursued opponents on the track. To date, JGCF has funded more than $25 million in research grants to identify less toxic, more effective treatments for childhood cancer.
“We are thrilled to team up with Jeff and Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation to fund premier pediatric cancer research,” said V Foundation CEO Shane Jacobson. “We share the same goal and are proud to be partnering with another devoted organization to support a vital area of cancer research. The three All-Star Grants we are co-funding will accelerate our mission of achieving Victory Over Cancer® and saving lives.”
The All-Star Grant award is reserved for cancer researchers who were previously funded by the V Foundation and who have continued to make outstanding contributions. The recipients of the three Pediatric All-Star Grants co-funded by Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation are:
- Megan McNerney, MD, PhD at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center; Project Title: Restoring CUX1 levels in myeloid malignancies of childhood
- Christopher R. Vakoc, MD, PhD at the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory; Project Title: High-resolution functional mapping and in vitro reconstitution of the PAX3-FOXO1 fusion oncoprotein complex
- Shizhen (Jane) Zhu, MD, PhD at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Research Center (Minnesota); Project Title: Developing innovative anti-GD2 CAR-Macrophages for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma
To learn more about the partnership with Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, visit https://www.v.org/JGCF. For more information about the V Foundation’s mission to accelerate Victory Over Cancer®, visit v.org. To learn more about Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and the race to beat childhood cancer, visit jgcf.org.
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About the V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The V Foundation has funded over $310 million in game-changing cancer research grants nationwide through a competitive process strictly supervised by a world-class Scientific Advisory Committee. Because the V Foundation has an endowment to cover administrative expenses, 100% of direct donations is awarded to cancer research and programs. The V team is committed to accelerating Victory Over Cancer®. To learn more, visit v.org.
About Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation
Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1999 by vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Dedicated to supporting kids fighting cancer, Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation has granted more than $25 million to fund innovations that improve patients’ quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship, and medical research dedicated to finding a cure for the number one cause of death by disease for kids. To learn more about Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation or make a donation, visit jgcf.org.
Photo caption: Jeff Gordon – Founder, Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and Shane Jacobson – CEO, the V Foundation for Cancer Research on stage at Sonoma Epicurean
Photo credit: Photos by Will Bucquoy and Bob McClenahan for the V Foundation for Cancer Research – Sonoma Epicurean
 National Cancer Institute – https://www.cancer.gov/types/childhood-cancers/child-adolescent-cancers-fact-sheet