Dean’s Letter – December 2023

by | Dec 15, 2023

Dear Friends,

My phone buzzed. I really didn’t want to look. I knew what it would say. Rally Kid Caroline, after fighting brain cancer for 10 years, was now pain free shining brightly in heaven.

Caroline shines brightly in our hearts, too. I miss that spunky mature-beyond-her-years kid. She epitomizes Rally’s mission.

She spoke at Rally signature events and at corporate sponsor events. Together we advocated in Washington, D.C. for more federal funding for childhood cancer research.

Rally Kid Ailani, who is fighting cancer for the sixth time and is currently on a treatment made possible by Rally funding, has also advocated with me in D.C. Her mom is retired from the Navy after more than 20 years of service and her dad is currently serving.

I am thrilled to share that our advocacy work with the Department of Defense (DOD) is going well. In the past six years, the DOD Medical Research Program has awarded $144 million directly to researchers for cancers in children, adolescents and young adults.

Ailani, Caroline and other brave Rally Kids who share their stories, along with your donations, phone calls and signatures on letters, make all the difference. Your donations and voices matter.

Rally continues to be philanthropic seed investors in the next great discovery. We fund early and keep funding as long as progress is being made.

Many years ago, I remember Rally Funded Researcher, Dr. Ted Johnson calling and saying he needed to find more funding. We introduced him to other foundations.

Fast forward several years, and Rally Kid Caroline went on Dr. Johnson’s clinical trial. She had two and half great years. She went to school, hung out with family and friends, made memories and became a fierce advocate for childhood cancer.

You gave Caroline those two and half years of a treatment with barely any side effects. Your support allows us to fulfill our mission. Thank you.

Without your generous donations, we would not have been able to fund Dr. Johnson. Your donations matter. They are making a difference. Just ask Caroline’s family.

And you could ask Ailani’s family, too.  They are forever grateful that Ailani has a fighting chance, and your financial support is why.

We take every dollar given very seriously. It could be the dollar that finds the better treatment or the cure. Thank you.

This year we granted $4 million in research projects bringing our total funding to $29.4 million. Simply amazing.

Rally uses Proposal Central to manage our grants. It is a portal that the doctors, researchers and reviewers know well. It is a big deal to get a Rally grant. We have a rigorous dual peer review grant process.

Proposal Central reached out this year to share with us some data. To date, we have funded $25 million through Proposal Central. They have an algorithm to show how much additional funding has been given since our investment.

I am thrilled to share that your investment into Rally allowed us to fund that $25 million has resulted in more than $500 million—yes that is a half billion with a B—of additional funding from other foundations and the government. Thank you.

Battling childhood cancer is hard. Add to that the financial toxicity families experience, and it is overwhelming. With your generous donations, we continue to provide financial assistance to childhood cancer families.

We provide meals to families whose children are in-patient at the hospital. The hospital feeds the child but not the family. The smiles on the families faces when they see a Rally Good Meal are big and wide.

We also stock the pantry on the pediatric oncology floor.

We do this in four states at multiple hospitals. And we could not do it without your support.

Rally is very interested in expediting clinical trials. We surveyed our Rally Researchers and asked what was the low hanging fruit to expediting clinical trials?

We were surprised to learn that accruing patients for a Phase 1 clinical trial proved to be a challenge due to travel costs. So, the Rally Travel Fund was launched this year and has already been put to good use.

We have met with the Biden Cancer Moonshot at the White House, and they are also interested in expediting clinical trials.

We continue to receive the highest ranking from charity watchdogs and 93 cents of every dollar goes to support our mission.

As you consider your year-end giving, we ask you, from the bottom of our hearts, to continue to give to Rally.

I was driving to work, and my phone buzzed. A picture of two recent college grads popped up. Rally Kid Peyton and Rally supporter Emily. They snapped a picture on their first day of working together at the children’s hospital. Peyton as a registered nurse and Emily as a child life specialist. Amazing.

Three separated times my phone buzzed, and it was a pictures of the Rally Kids who had children this year. Chandler, Jordan and Andrew holding their newborn babies. Amazing.

And those happened because you donated to Rally and allowed us to fund the best, most promising research. Thank you.

Your generous support is making a difference FOR THEIR FUTURE.


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