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Riley Children’s received $10 million to support cancer research for children

By Mariam Lobjanidze, IPB News | Published on in Health, Science, Statewide News
Representatives from Walther Cancer Foundation, Riley Children’s Foundation, Riley Children’s Health and Indiana University School of Medicine were joined by Riley families to celebrate the announcement.

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, according to the press release.

“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.”