A Treatment of a Lifetime
This 18-year-old boy was a beneficiary of Curing Kids Cancer funded CAR T-cell therapy.
"Without immunotherapy Justin would not have survived," said Amy Condoluci, Justin's mom. 
 
A ten-year battle is finally ceasing as Justin Condoluci has been in remission for 18 months after receiving CAR T cell therapy - a treatment that uses the child's own immune system to fight the cancer - at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Donations from Curing Kids Cancer funded Justin's treatment.
 
Justin at a youth sporting event.
Back in 2006, the Condoluci family was living a normal life in New Jersey with their 4 kids, when one of their 8-year-old triplets was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This is the same type of leukemia that Killian Owen -the inspiration for Curing Kids Cancer- fought for so many years.
  
After an initial round of treatment at a local hospital and his first relapse, Justin sought care at CHOP, 100 miles away from his home. As he endured treatment after treatment, Justin relapsed again. During his second relapse Justin was given high-dose chemo and endured more than 20 rounds of radiation over a 2-year period. 
 
While he was being treated, another child received the first CAR T-19 therapy  at CHOP and survived. Amy vividly remembered Dr. Rheingold, Justin's oncologist, telling her how excited she was. 
 
"If Justin relapses again we finally have something new to offer him," said Dr. Rheingold.
 
Sadly, that "if" became a "when" - only 4 months after completing therapy the cancer returned. This time it was his marrow and central nervous system. Justin's triplet sister Annie was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant. On Sept. 26, 2013, Justin had his transplant.  
 
In 2014, Justin relapsed for the fourth time. By the time Justin was ready to receive his CAR T therapy, the leukemia had returned to his marrow, spinal fluid, and fluid around his eyes.  Justin received his cells in February 2015. Sixty days after his treatment, there was no trace of his cancer. He has been in remission for a little over 18 months, the longest he has ever gone! 
 
If not for Curing Kids Cancer, Justin may have not received his treatment. He was treated "off trial" because of the central nervous system involvement. Prior to receiving his CAR T therapy, Justin had severe allergic reactions to two of the chemotherapy drugs he received. This is an example of why Curing Kids Cancer focuses on finding better therapies like CAR T-cell therapy rather than chemotherapy and radiation - to provide kids with safer and more effective options for fighting their cancers.
 
"Immunotherapy is absolutely the greatest hope we have for curing these kids.  We are so blessed that Justin was able to participate," said Amy.

In the years since Killian broke the mold by receiving a targeted therapy, to see where childhood cancer therapies are today is astounding. Killian made a path for kids like Justin by being the first child in the world to be treated with a targeted drug BL22. If not for Killian's battle, it is likely that children would still be fighting to receive treatments like CAR T-cell therapy.
 
Grainne presented Dr. Grupp with a check for CAR T-cell therapy.
"Without the money to fund the grants to allow the scientists and doctors the time needed in the lab - we will never find a cure.  A cure takes time, and that time costs money. I truly believe Immunotherapy is the most important medical breakthrough since penicillin and organizations like Curing Kids Cancer is one of reasons immunotherapy is working for so many cancer patients," said Amy. 
 
On Dec. 3 Justin celebrated his 18th birthday, a day that was not promised.  He is hoping to attend college next year and study biology/medicine. He would like to someday be a pediatric oncologist. One day Justin may be saving lives, just how his doctors and Curing Kids Cancer helped his life.

Help Curing Kids Cancer Find Cures 
This holiday season give to a cause that saves lives. 

As 2016 comes to an end, help Curing Kids Cancer fund top childhood cancer research projects across the United States and Canada. These projects are instrumental in saving kids lives. 

Every day 43 children are diagnosed with a type of cancer. With your donation, we can find better treatments for these children and put an end to childhood  cancers once and for all.  By clicking the button  below you are helping to save a life. 
Breaking Records at Mecum Dallas! 
Mecum and Curing Kids Cancer's partnership continues to flourishing in its 4th year. 

The first week of November was a tremendous week for Curing Kids Cancer. The Mecum Auction in Dallas raised more than $320,000 for childhood cancer therapies! This is the best auction to date, with one sign being sold for an amazing $34,000. The generosity at this auction was unparalleled. Five cars were donated to be auctioned off and the "Hot Rod" brought in $100,000 and was donated back to Curing Kids Cancer. It will be crossing the block again at Mecum Kissimmee. Curing Kids Cancer is set to record a million dollar year with Mecum at Mecum Kissimmee!  

Mecum Dallas also welcomed Ella to the auction. She enjoyed the day watching cars cross the block and was even able to ride in the Hot Rod.Ella was battling lymphoma. Curing Kids Cancer just received news that Ella is clear of all cancers! She will return to the doctor in six months to ensure her scans remain clear. Congratulations to Ella and her family! 

Mecum Kansas City was another a successful auction for Curing Kids Cancer. The auction brought in more than $24,000. Curing Kids Cancer is close to hitting $3 million mark with Mecum! 
Making Research S exy
Curing Kids Cancer funded 18 projects in 2015-2016 with your help. 

The past year has been a whirl wind, filled with exciting new research from exceptional doctors and hospitals across the United States and Canada. Take a look at where we funded research in 2015-2016. From Toronto to Los Angeles we have funded innovative research like Dr. Stegmaier's epigenetic research on Ewing sarcoma. We have also funded DIPG research, a lethal form of brain tumor, at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. The 18 projects that you have helped us fund this year are clearing a path to find cures for childhood cancers. The applications are in for projects to fund in 2016-2017 and have reviewed by our medical advisory board. We cannot wait to share them with you soon. Stay tuned to find out more in 2017! 

Dr. Eric Schafer Joins the Board
Dr. Schafer will help the board decide on where to send other grants. 
Dr. Eric Schafer

We are welcoming Dr. Eric Schafer from Texas Children's Hospital as a special advisor to the Curing Kids Cancer board. He will advise the board's grant committee by monitoring the latest research and giving advice to the committee on where to allocate funds. Dr. Schafer will help the committee allocate funds for top notch research projects across the country. 

Congratulations to Dr. Schafer on passing his pharmacology test. Curing Kids Cancer funded a three-year, $525,000 commitment to train pediatric oncologist Dr. Eric Schafer at Texas Children's Cancer Center in the pharmacology of childhood cancer. 

This training makes Dr. Schafer one of only six doctors in the country trained to understand the ways new drugs can work for children who suffer from cancer. This type of training is a major step toward developing new treatments, which will eliminate traditional chemotherapy and its horrible side effects.

Shop & Give 
The best way to multi-task during the holiday season is to give and shop. 

There are many simple ways to give back that many  individuals do no k now  about. The first is AmazonSmile, visit  https://smile.amazon.com / to set up  your  account. It is simple and is all based on you shopping! 

Instructions
1. Go to  https://smile.amazon.com
2. At the top of the page click select your charity. 
3. After selecting Curing Kids Cancer, begin to shop. 
4. Remember to always shop on Amazon by visiting https://smile.amazon.com/

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The next place to visit is Kroger. By using your Kroger Community Rewards you can help us fund even more pediatric cancer research.  Click Kroger Community Rewards and create a profile with your Kroger Plus card. 

These are simple ways to give back while doing tasks that you already do. If you have questions regarding how to set up an account for either store, email Abigail Pait, abigail@curingkidscancer.org.
    Upcoming Events
Mecum, Kissimmee, FL
January 6-15, 2017

We are excited to see how much we can raise at the Mecum auction coming up in Kissimmee, FL. To learn more about this auction, click here  mecum.com.
If you are interested in donating a car or other auction item, please contact  Account Manager at Curing Kids Cancer, Mikaela Hopkins at mikaela@curingkidscancer.org



Volunteer Brunch & Learn 
February 25, 2017

Come meet, greet, and eat with Curing Kids Cancer on Saturday, February 25, 2017 to hear from our Founder & President Grainne Owen about how you can volunteer with our organization and join our mission to find cures for all childhood cancers. Please RSVP and invite your friends, family and coworkers who have a desire to help children battling cancer receive the best treatments possible. For more information, contact Director of Programs & Events at Curing Kids Cancer, Lauren Korthoff at lauren@curingkidscancer.org

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