Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, has announced the launch of a $25 million initiative in support of childhood cancer research.
With a focus on developing a comprehensive, attainable plan for identifying cures for pediatric cancers, the Crazy 8 Initiative recently brought together ninety cancer industry leaders, including researchers, oncologists, and members of the Food and Drug Administration, to address eight critical areas in pediatric cancer research: neuroblastoma, embryonal brain cancers, high-grade gliomas, fusion positive sarcomas, fusion negative sarcomas, leukemia, the use of big data, and the acceleration of clinical trials.
Encouraged by results from the initial convening, the foundation will provide $1 million in pilot grants for actionable ideas ranging from multiplex ion beam imaging of childhood cancers, to targeting specific drivers of cancer, to overcoming obstacles to drug development. Flashes of Hope, a Cleveland-based childhood cancer charity, has donated $100,000 to ALSF to help jump-start the initiative.
ALSF was established in 2004 in honor of Alexandra "Alex" Scott, who succumbed to pediatric cancer at the age of 8. After her diagnosis and up until her death, Alex hosted annual lemonade stands to raise money for cancer cures. According to the foundation, childhood cancer is the leading cause of death for young people under the age of 15.
"Although we have humble front-yard beginnings that started with our daughter's lemonade stand, we have an ambitious large-scale plan to eradicate childhood cancer as the number-one disease killer of children," said Liz Scott, Alex's mother and co-executive director of the foundation. "The Crazy 8 initiative is a giant step toward solving the many challenges of finding new cures for children with cancer."