When it comes to saving a child’s life from cancer, no expense is too small or too big if it can offer families more time with their son or daughter. A $100,000 gift from the Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation will help a Georgia Cancer Center researcher do just that.
The gift, given to Dr. David Munn, co-founder of the Pediatric Immunotherapy Program, will help with an urgently-needed expansion of the immunotherapy clinical trials program. It will allow the program to hire a dedicated oncology nurse practitioner to care for patients taking part in the study. It will also allow Dr. Ted Johnson, Munn’s partner, to enroll more patients in the clinical trials. Families are traveling to Augusta from across the country and Europe to take part in the research combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy and radiation to treat pediatric brain cancer.
“I am thrilled CKc has the opportunity to support Dr. Munn and Dr. Johnson’s Pediatric Immunotherapy Program at the Georgia Cancer Center,” said Melissa Wiggins, executive director of Cannonball Kids’ cancer (CKc) based in Orlando, Florida. “One of the main pillars of our mission is to fund innovative and accessible cancer research for children. Dr. Johnson’s program is cutting edge and a perfect fit for our foundation. Our board and I believe he will truly move the needle in pediatric cancer research and we look forward to a long-lasting relationship with the program.”
Wiggins and her husband Michael started the foundation in 2014 as a way to honor the inspiring story of their son, Cannon, who was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma at 20 months old. Currently, Cannon shows no evidence of disease and his parents want to fund cancer research that could offer other families the same outcome as their son. In the last three years, the foundation has raised $1 million for cancer research. Munn says he’s thankful for the on-going support from the foundation.
“They want to make sure we have the resources and infrastructure we need in the Pediatric Immunotherapy clinic, so that we can accept the patients from across the country who are looking for novel treatment options for kids with cancer,” he said.
“The Cannonball Kids’ cancer Foundation has been supporting us since the beginning,” said Dr. Munn, “This is their second major gift, and they have now contributed a total of $200,000. We like to call them a ground floor partner because they have been there working with us to build the clinical-trials program ever since we first started looking at options for fundraising.”
The Cannonball Kids cancer Foundation raised the money during its annual Gold Gala event in April. The staff held live and silent auctions for patrons raising a total of $300,000 to fund cancer research.