Riley Children’s Foundation, the fundraising arm of Riley Children’s Hospital, received a $10 million gift from Walther Cancer Foundation for cancer research.
Karen Spataro, chief campaign strategy and communications officer at Riley Children’s Foundation, said that plans to utilize the donations funds will evolve based on changing research needs. She added that at this time, the funds will mainly fuel efforts to conduct clinical studies, lessen the side effects of cancer treatment, propose effective treatments and move them toward approval.
“Pediatric cancer causes some really horrible effects… So even if we cure the cancer one of the challenges is lifelong side effects that can affect organs like the heart, kidney, and liver. It can also increase the likelihood of second cancers,” Spataro said.
Spataro said the donation will support the team of researchers who do the full spectrum of research and laboratory science.
The big focus right now is to make cancer treatments not just more effective but take away the toxicity of cancer treatment and side effects, she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,cancer is the leading cause of death in children, with nearly 15,000 children and adolescents younger than 20 being diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.
Walther’s $10 million commitment will provide a one-for-one match for donors who establish endowed children’s cancer research funds.
“The Cancer Foundation not only gave us $10 million for children’s cancer research, but they really care about helping to generate even more donations. They said ‘we want you to go out and raise another $10 million and to incentivize people’, and we’d like you to use our dollars as a match,” Spataro said.
The funds will be utilized to support cancer research at Indiana University School of Medicine which partners with Riley Children’s and Indiana University Health, according to a press release.
The Walther Cancer Foundation is an Indianapolis-based private foundation that supports bench and clinical cancer research.
“Research is key to ending suffering from cancer, but research can be extraordinarily expensive, and too many brilliant ideas never get off the ground because there isn’t enough funding.,” said Elizabeth A. Elkas,Riley Children’s Foundation president and CEO. “Philanthropy is vital to fill that gap.”
The Walther Cancer Foundation supports and promotes interdisciplinary and inter-institutional cancer research both bench and clinical, the latter encompassing clinical trials as well as behavioral studies as part of our commitment to Supportive Oncology. Our goal is to help build cancer programs that provide tangible benefits by expanding the world’s scientific knowledge, by saving lives and by offering hope to patients and their families.
One of the Walther Cancer Foundation’s greatest strengths is its independence. The Foundation’s autonomy, both organizationally and financially, gives its leadership and board of directors the freedom to stimulate important bridge-building at the interfaces of cancer research.
The Walther Cancer Institute was created in 1985 and merged into the Walther Cancer Foundation in 2007 to become a private grant-making foundation.
Since its founding, more than $190 million has been invested in cancer-focused research.