What Keeps Me Up At Night

by | Apr 30, 2020

Working for Rally is such a blessing, and such a challenge.

It’s a blessing to get to know these families who are fighting the childhood cancer beast. They are in a war, involving battle after battle, and sometimes they take one step forward then it seems like five steps back. But, they forge ahead, fighting through tears and finding joy in the simplest pleasures. And it is such a blessing that these families stand behind Rally’s mission to find better treatments and, ultimately, cures for childhood cancers.

It’s a blessing to meet so many amazing people—from adults, kids and small business owners to Fortune 100 companies—who truly want to give help and hope to families fighting the childhood cancer beast. These people understand how critical it is to fund childhood cancer research even though it isn’t “hip” or “cool”.

It’s a blessing to call childhood cancer researchers and let them know they are going to receive a Rally Research Grant. They know the rigor of what it takes to be a Rally Funded Researcher. Each grant application is dual peer-reviewed by our Medical Advisory Board. Grants are awarded based on the average of the two scores. To hear researchers’ cries of joy when we call, or silent gasps of surprise as they try to contain themselves, is the ultimate blessing.

So, what is the challenge? What keeps me up at night?

It’s what is left on the table. Leaving promising research on the table. Research that should be funded because it received a favorable score, yet we didn’t have enough funds to do so.

It keeps me awake at night. What if we left the cure on the table?

In March, Rally gave $3.3 million in childhood cancer research grants—our largest single year amount thus far—yet we still left fundable research on the table. And what if the cure is on the table?

I seriously lay awake at night and wonder about it. I replay conversations that I have had with so many families. “The doctors say there is nothing else they can do. Do you know of anything?”

I want to say, “Yeah, I know there is vital childhood cancer research that has been vetted, received a great score and should be funded. Research for your child’s cancer.”

But I don’t say that. I just cry with them.

Today, on Giving Tuesday Now, we have the opportunity to get one of those fundable grants off the table. It’s a promising neuroblastoma project that received a favorable score, but we did not have the funds to support it.

Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor cancer—found in the nerve tissue—that only kids get. Dr. Smita Matkar, a staff scientist in Dr. Yael Mossé’s lab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is on to something big. Dr. Mossé’s lab has made many great discoveries in neuroblastoma. Dr. Matkar is studying the molecular mechanism of Lorlatinib in resistance in neuroblastoma.

The COVID-19 pandemic has cost Rally a minimum of $1 million in lost revenue from spring events. Zaxby’s was going to be a $25,000 Presenting Sponsor at Atlanta’s Rally On the Runway, which had to be postponed.

But now—wait for it—Zaxby’s has generously offered to fund half of Dr. Matkar’s $50,000 research grant if we can raise the other half on Giving Tuesday Now. They will match your generous donation, dollar for dollar, all day!

We can do this. I know we can. We are up for this challenge.

I promise you that every single parent who has waged war with the childhood cancer beast is grateful for your support. No family ever wants to think that the cure for their child’s cancer could be on the table. It keeps them up at night, too.

Thank you, Zaxby’s. And thank YOU in advance for helping us fund this important research grant.

Game On…and Rally On!

Dean Crowe
Founder & CEO


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