How TOKC is Advancing Childhood Cancer Research

How TOKC is Advancing Childhood Cancer

Shortly after our co-founder James Ragan was diagnosed with cancer, he celebrated his 14th birthday by having guests donate money instead of gifting presents. Little did we know that the 40,000 in donations given to M.D. Anderson and Driscoll Children’s Hospital was the start of the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Foundation. Now 11 years later, our foundation has raised over 3 million dollars for pediatric cancer research which supports the discovery of innovative new treatments.


During James’ battle with cancer he discovered how little funding was dedicated to pediatric cancer research – only 4% of federal funding – meaning many drugs used for treatment were decades old and nothing new was being done. In light of this finding, James took charge, hosting another toga party fundraiser and adding in a golf tournament, raising over $100,000 for an underfunded research project at M.D. Anderson.


As our foundation grew, so did our ability to close the gap in research funding for pediatric cancer. Our first major initiative was to raise $1.5 million to fund the Children’s Sarcoma initiative – a pool of money to fund new research projects focusing on pediatric cancer – which was matched by M.D. Anderson.


In 2014, we launched our second major initiative with M.D. Anderson, The Childhood Genomic Research and Sequencing Project (GRASP). GRASP provides funds for the only longitudinal whole genome sequencing project targeting pediatric cancers. This project is one of the most promising steps to providing key underlying knowledge and understanding into potential pathways to cures. In 2017, we completed our three-year pledge to raise $1.5 million with the help of our supporters.


Now in 2018, we are continuing to advance progressive research into pediatric cancers. Thanks to the success of earlier research through TOKC’s Children’s Sarcoma Initiative, we’ve pledged another $1 million to fund a phase II drug trial at M.D. Anderson. This research will evaluate if inhibiting EZH2 activity in osteosarcoma cells can prevent the development of metastatic disease, potentially bringing new life-saving treatment to patients with osteosarcoma.


Additionally, we’ve pledged $1 million to the Childhood Cancer Cell Therapy Program at Texas Children’s Hospital. This program aims to translate highly promising cell-based immunotherapy approaches for incurable and hard-to-treat pediatric malignancies into effective therapies.


With the help of our community of supporters, our foundation has the potential to fund research that will increase the survivability of kids with cancer. If you would like to help be part of this mission you can become a TOKC volunteer or donate to our foundation.