02 February 2009

Sponsor my scalp, please


I wrote recently about a young child I saw with a new renal tumor. I followed up, and it turns out it was not a Wilm's tumor, as we had hoped, but a neuroblastoma.

I still kind of shudder when I hear that name; it was neuroblastoma which killed Nathan, and now there is one more child out there suffering from that disease. The technical details regarding her tumor imply that she has a serious challenge ahead of her.

It's just under six weeks now until I'll be going bald once again, to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. If you can, please consider clicking on the image above and making a donation towards a cure for these terrible diseases. Providing funding through organizations like St Baldrick's is a critical means to expedite the maturation of these treatments and bring them from the lab bench to the bedside. Last year, St Baldrick's Foundation raised almost $18 million, a new high for this organization, the largest dedicated to pediatric cancer research. Over 85% of the money raised went directly to research on these malignant diseases. One recipient was my friend Beth V, a pediatric oncologist at the local university center. She is working on exciting new therapies for medulloblastoma, and the support from St Baldrick's provided her the ability to continue her work on a very promising pathway.

I know that with the economic crisis, money is tight and we all are carefully examining our charitiable activities. Unfortunately, cancer research is not immune to these economic forces, and as corporate giving dries up, it is even more important for people like you, the private individual donors, to continue or even increase your support for this cause. If the research funds diminish, scientists like Beth will be obligated to scale back their work, and fewer therapies will become available for very sick children.

I will be shaving my head in honor of Nathan Gentry, who died of neuroblastoma on July 29,2007 at the age of seven, and for Henry, who is fighting recurrent medulloblastoma, and for the child I recently cared for with neuroblastoma. I hope that you will be willing to support our team with a donation of whatever you can afford -- gifts as small as $25 or $50 are welcome. If you can give as much as $100, $250, or more, that would be even better. The top donor, should they be able to be in Chicago on March 13, will be awarded the first pass with a razor on my head! All donors will receive the warm fuzzy satisfaction of participating in a great cause, and a free digital picture of my glistening scalp.

Thanks for all of your well wishes, and for your generosity -- both past and future. And yes, I will post some post-shaving pics here for your voyeuristic pleasure.

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