Student Athletes Raises Funds for Cancer Research, Let’s Help

Millennials have been called many things, but they aren’t often acknowledged for their consistent and generous support for charities. This passion to give back is exemplified in the upcoming 4th Annual Greeley All-Athlete Walkathon.  More than a dozen local athletic teams are coming together to support Making Headway and Pediatric/Adolescent cancer research and programs that assist these children and their families.   Help support their effort by attending the event or donating to the cause.  To donate or learn more, visit www.makingheadway.org/greeley. #giving

Training the next generation of doctors

Making Headway Foundation understands that in order for children to receive the highest quality medical services, doctors must be specially trained to understand the unique issues of pediatric brain and spinal cord tumor patients. Making Headway is helping to meet this need through the funding of our annual Pediatric Neuro-oncology Fellowship Program. Chosen from among the best doctors in the country, fellows evaluate and treat children with a broad range of brain or spinal cord tumors.  Now in its seventh year, the Making Headway Fellowship Program has been a great success; each fellow has moved forward with a robust career in pediatric neuro-oncology.

Fairytale Yoga – Making Headway Program Highlight

Over the years, Making Headway has developed a variety of unique and creative programs to help children who have been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor.  Fairytale Yoga is a one-of-a-kind program designed specifically for children impacted by chemotherapy. Through this program, our instructor, Annie Hickman is able to bring a special joy to children and their families (as well as the doctors and nurses).  The children love to explore playful movements with their bodies. Children run in circles, dance with silk butterfly wings, play yoga games, and make music with Tibetan singing bowls. Fairytale yoga helps transform an environment that is often filled with fear and uncertainty, into a place of hope and love.  Bringing these types of programs to families impacted by pediatric cancer is a core part of the Making Headway Foundation.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but Making Headway knows that Childhood Cancer impacts families every day of the year. Over 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. Making Headway’s mission focuses on the most common and dangerous type of cancer, pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors.

Childhood cancer may seem like an overwhelming topic, but if we really want to make a difference, we all need to help. There are so many ways that you can help children with cancer.

* Make a Contribution: 90% of the funds that support Making Headway comes from individuals like you. These donations support all of our programs that assist children with a brain or spinal cord tumor. Make a donation today in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

* Volunteer:  Service providers and hospitals are always looking for dedicated volunteers to help in a variety of capacities. To find your opportunity, search for a local service organization, hospital, or contact Making Headway at 914-238-8384.

* Advocate: Making Headway is working with local and national organizations to advocate for additional funding for medical research and a system to better assist children and families. Learn how you can help.

* Spread the Word: Forward this page to your family, friends, and co-workers. We all have to get involved to provide Care, Comfort, and a Cure for families impacted by pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors.

Pediatric Low-Grade Gliomas Research Study Published

Making Headway funds a variety of research studies to help identify better treatments and a cure for pediatric brain or spinal cord tumors. Several years ago, Making Headway helped fund a project led by Dr. Uri Tabori, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. This study seeks to understand the implications of a specific gene, BRAF V600E, in Pediatric Low-Grade Gliomas.  Although the paper is quite technical, it showcases both the tremendous complexity of understanding pediatric brain tumors and the significant advancements that researchers are making.  Making Headway is proud to help move this science forward by funding innovative and practical research projects.  You can download a copy of the report at http://makingheadway.org/published.  You can support future projects, by donating to Making Headway.

Why clinical trials are so important

The treatment options for pediatric brain tumors are very limited. New options are desperately needed to improve survival rates and quality of life. Before a new treatment can be approved it must go through a large number of tests and analysis. Clinical Trials are a critical step in which the new treatment option is tested on patients. Making Headway understands the critical role that clinical trials play in new discoveries, and currently funds a Research Manager to organize and manage these trials at the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. This past year, the Clinical Research Manager oversaw 35 active research projects that are devoted specifically to pediatric brain or spinal cord tumors. Each trial has the potential to discover a new treatment or possibly a cure for these pediatric tumors.

Fast Facts – What is a pediatric CNS tumor?

Together, the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS). A childhood CNS tumor is a disease in which abnormal cells form in the tissues of the brain or spinal cord. There are dozens of different childhood brain tumor types and classifications, each based upon a tumor’s cell structure, composition, rate of growth and other characteristics.  Learn more at http://makingheadway.org/facts/.

Program Highlight – Playroom Improvements

A hospital can be a scary place for a child, especially for pediatric cancer patients. Recent studies have proven what Making Headway has known for decades: the hospital’s physical environment affects the patients’ experiences, emotional needs, and health outcomes.  Every child at the Hassenfeld Children’s Center is able to benefit from the enhanced playroom and activities supported by Making Headway. Through our programs, Making Headway has transformed the halls and the playroom into a fun, healthy place for children and families. On any given day, children of all ages and backgrounds can be found happily absorbed in arts and crafts activities, games, or munching on healthy, delicious snacks. Professional entertainers and child therapists are also part of the playroom team, helping the whole family feel comfortable, relaxed and welcome.

Research Highlight: Cutting Edge Program funded by Making Headway

Dr. Daniel Reinberg is one of the most respected and accomplished medical investigators in the country and Making Headway has agreed to fund his latest research project. This unique research project focuses on a devastating type of pediatric brain tumor known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPGs). Despite recent advances in diagnosis and treatment, the majority of children diagnosed with DIPG die within 24 months of diagnosis. Through a grant by Making Headway, Dr. Reinberg and his team are studying specific  compounds that block the ability of certain proteins that bind to a specific epigenetic signature, known as dimethylation of histone H3 on lysine residue 36 (H3K36me2). It’s a lot more complicated than that, but in the end, these compounds are very promising therapeutics for the treatment of this deadly childhood malignancy.   Learn more at http://makingheadway.org/research.

Making Headway Awards Grants to Children with Brain Tumors

Press Release: The Making Headway Foundation approves over $350,000 in new grants to help children with brain tumors

Over the past 20 years, Making Headway has invested over $20 million in research and services to these children and their families. In January 2017, Making Headway continued this incredibly valuable work by approving over $350,000 in new grants to The Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at the NYU Langone Medical Center. These grants will fund a variety of programs that address both the short-term and long-term needs of children with brain or spinal cord tumors.

Today, there are more than 28,000 children living with a brain or spinal cord tumor, commonly referred to as a Central Nervous System (CNS) tumor. Over 2,500 children (seven every day) are diagnosed every year. In 2016, pediatric CNS tumors caused more deaths than any other type of pediatric cancer. Making Headway is committed to helping these children by providing Care, Comfort, and a Cure.

In order to have the most significant impact Making Headway focuses on holistic approaches to research and services. With this in mind, it approved funding for four significant, but very different research grants. For example, one grant will fund the NYU Center for Biospecimen Research & Development, which catalogs and stores thousands of invaluable medical samples from children with brain or spinal cord tumors. Doctors from around the world can request and receive samples for their research, at no cost. Making Headway is trying to encourage more research and collaboration, with an expectation of practical improvements related to the treatment and prevention of pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors. This grant is complimented by another that supports a Clinical Trials Manager. Clinical trials are important research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. The Clinical Trials Manager will oversee 35 active research projects that are devoted to pediatric brain or spinal cord tumors. Each trial has the potential to discover a new treatment or possibly a cure for these pediatric tumors.

Making Headway is also investing in research to help children from a psychological perspective. It is well-established that children with brain or spinal cord tumors present with a host of cognitive, academic, and socio-emotional challenges both during and after treatments are completed. Funded by Making Headway, the Hassenfeld Neuropsychology Testing Program evaluates and monitors newly diagnosed children. This is part of unique, formal protocol created at Hassenfeld (through another Making Headway grant), in which all newly diagnosed patients receive pro-active interventions, such as educational support and related services as needed.

Making Headway understands that in order for children to receive the highest quality medical services, there must be specifically trained doctors who understand the unique technical needs of pediatric brain and spinal cord tumor patients. Making Headway has been helping to meet this need through an annual grant to support a pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center. Chosen from among the best candidates in the country, these fellows evaluate and treat a broad range of brain or spinal cord tumors in children, manage neurological complications of systemic cancer in children, participate in the conduct of clinical trials and prepare for an academic leadership career in pediatric neuro-oncology. Now in its 6th year, this program has been very successful, as each fellow has moved forward with a robust career in pediatric neuro-oncology.

Making Headway was created 20 years ago by a few families who had a child diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor. Since that time, this Westchester-based non-profit organization has been dedicated to helping other children and their families. Its investments in medical research and training have been critically important, leading to new breakthroughs and training the next generation of pediatric neuro-oncologists. Beyond research, it provides a true continuum of services in order to help families impacted by pediatric brain or spinal cord tumors. Its ongoing programs include educational and psychological counseling, fun family events, a scholarship fund, and a variety of in-hospital care services.

The mission of the Making Headway Foundation is provide care and comfort for children with brain and spinal cord tumors while funding medical research geared to better treatments and a cure. To learn more, or to donate to Making Headway, visit www.MakingHeadway.org or call 914-238-8384.