Seattle Children’s launches $100 million cancer fundraiser

Dec 3, 2014, 6:06 AM | Updated: 7:32 am

With the help of a certain local football hero, Seattle Children’s Hospital is launching an ambitious fundraising campaign to speed development of a promising treatment for childhood cancer.

You’ve heard the phrase, “The cure is worse than the disease.” Seattle Children’s is exploring alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation.

“The long-term side effects on these innocent little bodies that are receiving massive doses of radiation or chemotherapy in the efforts to save their lives, they really are damaging them significantly, an impact that could last their lifetime,” said Aileen Kelly, Vice President with Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation.

The new fundraising campaign will help provide patient access to clinical trials on immunotherapy, which uses a child’s reprogrammed immune cells to fight cancer. Milton Wright, 21, is living proof, a leukemia patient who was out of options.

“He was really at a point where there was absolutely nothing working for him anymore, he had three relapses so this trial so happened to finally become available,” said Kelly. Wright is now living and working when he thought he didn’t have a chance, said Kelly.

According to Children’s, the National Institutes for Health provides just three percent of its budget for pediatric cancer. So the “Strong Against Cancer” initiative has a multi-year fundraising goal of $100 million.

“It’s a huge number but it certainly costs a lot more than that to continue this work into the future, but it just takes a big audacious goal to make things happen,” said Kelly.

Public Service Announcements will feature Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

“With our wonderful friendship with Russell Wilson, the timing is all in alignment and we’re just excited to make a major impact, globally,” said Kelly.

So far, seven patients at Seattle Children’s have gone into remission following immunotherapy treatment. The new treatments originated at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s but the benefits could be felt around the world.

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Seattle Children’s launches $100 million cancer fundraiser