Marlee at Wish Week 2016

Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Cancer Dream Team

As you know, a large part of our mission is based on a very straightforward plea from Marlee: treat and cure pediatric cancer so children don’t have to suffer the way she did.  Through generous and kind donations of furry friends, we are able to put custom Build-A-Bears in the arms of patients while directing much of our fundraising directly to sarcoma research.  We are especially excited to partner with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and support the Stand Up To Cancer Pediatric Dream Team as they continue groundbreaking research.  Their mission: bring together 2 separate scientific fields – genomics and immunotherapy – to find cures for many of the most hard-to-treat childhood cancers. The success of the Dream Team in novel treatments for blood cancers is now being applied to solid tumors, and Marlee’s Smile will provide funding support for promising research and, later, a clinical trial for rhabdomyosarcoma as this research moves to the next level.

We know how excited Marlee would be over this research; she was after all the girl who nicknamed one of her prostheses “Flash.”  And “lightning in a bottle” is how experts have described this team and its incredibly fast impact. The SU2C Dream Team has:

  • Pushed the first gene therapies over the finish line for FDA approval
  • Treated more than 930 patients on 34 clinical trials
  • Discovered new immunotherapy targets that can be game-changers

As a small foundation focused on ‘pennies in, pennies out’ to maximize your donor dollars, we appreciate the work that St. Baldrick’s can do to thoroughly vet the latest research horizons.  Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. That means your donations are put to immediate work.  The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. That means research can translate more quickly into clinical trials.  These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. That means we are closer than ever to cures.

The SU2C Pediatric Cancer Dream Team draws together researchers from nine institutions across two countries.  The institutions and doctors, immunologists, and researchers understand the need for therapies that improve survival rates while decreasing the life-altering physical, emotional and financial burdens of currently available therapies. As a St. Baldrick’s Charity partner, Marlee’s Smile reviews pertinent grants and research that align with our mission; we are able to direct our dollars to those programs that most closely align with our mission to cure pediatric sarcomas.  In the first twelve months as a St. Baldrick’s partner and the first 24 months since losing Marlee to rhabdomyosarcoma, we have been able to commit $75,000 to this vital research.  We look forward to growing that amount and having an even broader impact. 

You can learn more about the SU2C Dream Team here: Pediatric Cancer Dream Team | St. Baldrick’s Foundation (

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