As written in The Children’s School Newsletter
Character education and community service are a part of daily life at The Children School (TCS). On May 26, Wilma Pollard and Amanda Thwaits’ first grade class ended their year of service by completing a fundraising project that had an extra special meaning for them.
Their efforts, a walk-a-thon around Piedmont Park’s Lake Clara Meer, raised $3,500 for Press On to CURE Childhood Cancer, a named fund of CURE Childhood Cancer that supports pediatric cancer research. Press On was started by TCS parents Erin and Stephen Chance. The students, including an energetic Patrick Chance who was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in June 2006, walked three laps around for a total of three miles each. In support of their classmate’s cause, the first graders solicited pledges from family members, friends, neighbors, and TCS faculty and staff to raise a remarkable $3,500.
According to the students’ teachers, Wilma and Amanda, “it was very exciting to make this a memorable event for our young ones to cherish and understand how they can make a difference at their level.” The walk-a-thon was not only a great fundraising opportunity, but also a chance to get some fresh air and exercise and to show the strength of the TCS community.
In 2007, Stephen and Erin Chance created CURE Childhood Cancer’s first “Named fund.” Their son, Patrick, had been diagnosed with Stage Iv Neuroblastoma at three years old. After realizing the dire need for funding for pediatric cancer research, the Chances created Press On: The Patrick R. Chance fund for Neuroblastoma Research to combine their fundraising efforts with the shared vision, experience, and success of CURE Childhood Cancer.
The Press On fund mission changed in an ironically positive direction in 2009 when Tara and Turner Simkins, dear friends of the Chances and early supporters of Press On, joined forces with the Chances as a result of their son, Brennan’s, diagnosis with AMl on the eve of his seventh birthday. During Brennan’s bone marrow transplant, and after Patrick had been off therapy for only three short months, Patrick’s cancer returned. Then, just three months later, Brennan relapsed. Both boys and their families and supporters are fighting to find a cure.
The Chances and Simkins have shared a friendship practically their entire lives. Now they also share the mission of the Press On fund. The brutal irony of their sons’ battles with cancer underscores their firm belief that their continuing experience “in the trenches” with their boys offers a providential opportunity to help raise money which can be targeted directly to therapies and trials which can make a difference now. from this perspective, their lives will be always changed for the better, relying on the strength of true friendship and faith to Press On through any circumstances for a CURE.
As a result of the generous support of family, friends, and a community of supporters, The Press On fund has directed several hundreds of thousands of dollars to promising research for neuroblastoma, specifically Dr. Donald Durden’s research of Pl-3 Kinase Inhibitor and Targeted Therapies for neuroblastoma conducted at Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Press On has also directed $20,000 to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to support a team of dedicated neuroblastoma researchers investigating antibody therapies.
This years Druid Hills Golf Club Charity Weekend with Play for Patrick and Tennis Pro AM will be held on Friday, May 29-30 to benefit Press On: The Patrick R. Chance Fund for Neuroblastoma Research through CURE Childhood Cancer.
Press On provides funding for basic and clinical research relating to neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. Press On was established in June of 2007 through CURE Childhood Cancer, Georgia’s oldest childhood cancer charity.
Through various fundraisers, Press On provides grants to scientists and physicians conducting research involving neuroblastoma. During the distribution of grants, a preference will be given to researchers and physicians at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, although consideration will be given to requests for funding by any scientists or physicians conducting research into novel therapies for neuroblastoma, regardless of their affiliated institution.
Patrick Chance is the six year-old son of Erin and Stephen Chance. Patrick lives in Atlanta with his sisters, Madison and Anna, and his dogs, Banks and Bear. In June of 2006, Patrick was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer. It took surgery, ten cylces of toxic chemotherapy, twelve rounds of radiation, and one cycle of monoclonal antibody therapy to rid Patrick of this terrible disease. The last cycle of chemotherapy was so strong that he required autologous stem cell rescue to survive. He continues to recevie painful antibody therapy in hopes of keeping him in remission. He is still at high risk for relapse and at risk for secondary cancers like leukemia as well as infertility, scoliosis, and other significant side effects. Simply put, the current treatments for neuroblastoma are not good enough. With your help, we plan to change that.
To participate in or find out more information about Play for Patrick, please contact Erin Chance via email or at 404.276.7405.