James' Legacy Continues to Triumph
In 2006, James Ragan was an average junior high school student. An active athlete, James was a nationally ranked junior tennis player by the age of 13, when he first developed pain and swelling in his left knee.
A routine check-up with a medical specialist led to his diagnosis with Osteosarcoma, a deadly form of bone cancer. He left the 7th grade as a strong, healthy athlete only to return the following year frail and without hair as a result of intensive chemotherapy treatments.
Despite grueling surgeries and devastating treatments, James remained positive and kept moving forward.
When James and his older sister, Mecklin, learned there was no cure for his disease, nor research being done to find one, they decided to take this experience and influence change: they made it their mission to raise money to fund pediatric cancer research.
In 2007, one year after his diagnosis, James and Mecklin hosted a toga party with the theme, “Triumph Over Kid Cancer.” The event garnered $40,000 its inaugural year, which was donated to Driscoll Children’s Hospital and M.D. Anderson. This initiative led to the development of our foundation in 2010.
For the next four years, we continued our charitable efforts raising over $1 million dollars toward pediatric cancer research in partnership with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Throughout this time, James himself dealt with multiple surgeries and experimental treatments, that gradually eroded his health and quality of life. On February 17, 2014, shortly after meeting their first goal of $1.5 million dollars toward M.D. Anderson’s Children’s Sarcoma Initiative, James passed away.
Like thousands of other pediatric cancer children before him, we lost the promise he brought to the future. We proudly continue to carry on James’ legacy through our fundraising, supporting multiple research projects throughout the years. Most recently, we have begun 2 new pledge projects, matched dollar for dollar by their respective institutions:
- $1 million to fund a phase 2 drug trial at M.D. Anderson for a drug whose original research was funded by the Children’s Sarcoma Initiative.
- $1 million to fund a new immunotherapy drug being developed at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Each institution’s research projects have the potential to create major breakthroughs in the treatment and cure of multiple orphan pediatric cancer.
If you would like to help honor James’ legacy and contribute to this innovative research, learn more about our partnership opportunities by emailing TOKC@TriumphOverKidCancer.org, calling 361-883-TOKC (8652) or by donating online here.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, TOKC is shining a light on ways to make a difference for kids battling cancer. Below are four ways to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness this month:
One of the most crucial ways to show your support during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is to take action by donating. When you donate to TOKC, you help advance progressive research into pediatric cancers. All donations made to TOKC are matched dollar-for-dollar by MD Anderson and Texas Children’s Hospital.
You can also shop directly from the TOKC website. We have a wide variety of products available that make great gifts for loved ones or for a pediatric cancer patient to help brighten their day. All proceeds of your purchase go directly back to our organization’s mission.
Many online shopping websites provide an option to give back while you shop, like Amazon’s AmazonSmile program, where a percentage of your purchase is donated to the nonprofit organization of choice.
Hosting fundraising events are another fun way to spread awareness and get others involved in the cause. You can partner with businesses in the community, host neighborhood competitions, or host a screening of the “Until 20” documentary at a local venue. Organizing an event is a great way to bring together your community for a compassionate cause. Some of the TOKC events taking place this month are:
- Local Broadcast of Until 20 – Friday, Sept. 7th, 8pm – 10pm
- Kendra Scott Gives Back Event – Saturday, Sept. 15th, 5pm – 8pm
- Crossing Over Basketball Fundraiser by Trevor Allison & Robbie Hilliard – Saturday, Sept. 22nd, 2pm – 10pm
If you have an event idea or want to host an event but need ideas, TOKC is here to help make this a success.
Volunteer your extra time in honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. You can make a child’s day by visiting their hospital and spending time with them. Many hospitals allow visitors to take gifts to the children to lift their spirits. Another way to volunteer is to help plan or work at a fundraising event. TOKC continually organizes events or hospital visits which volunteers can be a part of. We are thankful for everything our volunteers do and always have opportunities for new volunteers to get involved.
- M.D. Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital – Tuesday, Sept. 25th, 9:30am – 11:30am
- Texas Children’s Hospital – Wednesday, Sept. 26th, 9:30am – 11:30am
- Ochsner Hospital for Children – Wednesday, Sept. 19th, 9:30am – 11:30am
- Driscoll Children’s Hospital – Wednesday, Sept. 19th, 9:30am – 11:30am
Whether you choose to donate, shop for a cause, host an event or volunteer your time, your life will be changed when you give back. If you would like to find more ways to volunteer or host an event, contact us at 361-883-TOKC or emails us at TOKC@TriumphOverKidCancer.org
Raising Awareness & Funds in Class
School is back in session, and whether you’re a teacher or student, you can get your classroom involved in fundraising activities to support local nonprofits like the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Foundation. Below are five ways to help raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer patients in the classroom
Host a waffle breakfast for students to fuel them for their day of learning. Last year, TOKC hosted an Annual DoThatOneThing! Waffle Breakfast and was a huge success, raising over $2,500 for pediatric cancer research. Have a station set up where students can make a donation for waffles and decorate them with toppings. For an added bonus, have a waffle decorating competition!
Selling candy is one of the easiest ways to fundraise for TOKC. You can purchase candy/chocolate in bulk at a store or through a company and resell it at your school. Other healthy alternatives to candy can range from popcorn to granola bars. All these snacks will be a guaranteed hit and are perfect to crave any lingering fits of hunger after lunch or recess.
Wear Orange Day
Offer students the chance to wear orange in place of their normal school dress code to show their support of TOKC. Students will often jump at the chance to take a break from the normal routine and brighten their day with some color. Students wanting to participate can bring a small donation for TOKC so they can rock orange clothes for the day.
Pie a Teacher
Liven up the school year by giving students the chance to pie their favorite teacher. If a certain amount of money is donated, students can pick a teacher to grace with pie in their face. To raise the stakes, offer the chance to pie multiple teachers and even the principal as the students pass multiple donation goals throughout the school year.
Set up a game day with outdoor and indoor activities. Students and teachers can purchase a ticket to participate and enjoy a fun afternoon. Offer small prizes to winners to raise the stakes of the games. No doubt that taking a break from the school day to do something fun will get students excited about participating.
However your class chooses to get involved, your donations go directly to advancing life-saving research and treatments for pediatric cancer. To make your fundraising go further, MD Anderson and Texas Children’s Hospital will match donations benefiting TOKC dollar-for-dollar.
Some schools may need a school sanctioned program or organization such as TOKC’s DoThatOneThing! Councils to raise funds. If you would like assistance to help organize your summer fundraiser for TOKC or to establish a school sanctioned program, contact us at 361-883-TOKC or email us at TOKC@TriumphOverKidCancer.org
5 Ways You Can Support Kids with Cancer
Summertime is finally here! This year, you and your family can turn your extra free time into fun-raisers for the Triumph Over Kid Cancer foundation! Below are five fun ways you can fundraise to support kids with cancer and help bring them joy this summer.
Lemonade stands, a summertime classic , are a great way to help raise funds for kids battling cancer. With a simple booth, lemonade of your choice and a sign showing support for TOKC, you are ready to quench the thirst of any lucky passersby. Help gather even more awareness for our cause by including information about our foundation on the cup or providing this brochure to customers!
Bake Sale or BBQ
Host your own bake sale like our supporters from the Kappa Psi, Epsilon Epsilon Chapter at Texas A&M University. From cookies to donuts, bake sales are an easy way to sweeten the lives of others, especially children battling pediatric cancer. Fancy yourself a pitmaster rather than a baker? Host a BBQ at a local park, selling food and drink tickets to park visitors.
A car wash is a classic way to help fundraise for TOKC during the summer heat. Work with local businesses on a busy street to use empty parking lot space for your car wash. Take your car wash up a notch by offering different levels of service for different donations. Advertise on social media with the location, suggested donation and hours. And don’t forget to check the weather for rain!
Water Balloon Fight
Cool off in the summer sun with a water balloon fight benefitting TOKC. Post flyers around the neighborhood and sell tickets to participate. You can even sell people their very own bucket of water balloons! Make it a competition between teams, a free-for-all or both! Step up the game by make an obstacle course with outdoor furniture.
Host a screening in a public park or work with a local business to create your own “drive-in” movie night. You can sell tickets for entry, popcorn and all the other memorable movie snacks. Choose a summer blockbuster or speak with TOKC about a free screening of “Until 20”, a documentary celebrating the life of our late co-founder, James Ragan.
However you choose to help this summer, your donations to Triumph Over Kid Cancer go directly to advancing life-saving research and treatments for pediatric cancer. If you would like assistance to help organizing your summer fundraiser for TOKC, contact us at 361-883-TOKC or email us at TOKC@TriumphOverKidCancer.org
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.
Celebrating our DTOT! Graduates
Graduation season is around the corner, and we cannot help but celebrate our graduating DoThatOneThing! Council members!
Despite busy school schedules, these high school seniors have selflessly spent countless hours fighting pediatric cancer and making a difference in the community. Whether they are gifting presents to patients at local hospitals or volunteering at our events, these kids express a level of kindness and generosity that changes lives.
Back in April at our annual DTOT! Council banquet, the students presented us with a check for $3,390. The triumph of their fundraising efforts puts our foundation one step closer to advancing innovative new treatments for pediatric cancer.
Now, we get the chance to recognize their academic success, presenting a total of 173 chords to graduating senior council members throughout the month of May. Our students reach across 9 different Corpus Christi high schools including: Foy H. Moody High School, Incarnate Word Academy, W. B. Ray High School, Veterans Memorial High School, Richard King High School, London ISD, Mary Carroll High School, H.M. King High School and Roy Miller High School.
Some of our DTOT! Council members were given scholarships as a special way to thank them for going above and beyond in their support of TOKC. The James A. Ragan Humanitarian Award and the James & Mecklin Ragan Award for Courage are meant to recognize and celebrate our students’ academic success and dedication to James’ vision.
TOKC is thankful for everything our DTOT! Council members helped accomplish. We congratulate them and know that they will continue to do that one thing wherever they go next!
The DTOT! Councils are generously sponsored by H-E-B Tournament of Champions.
Scholarship recipients are listed below. Asterisk indicates scholarships awarded by the Hicks, Layton and Ragan Families. All other scholarships were donated by H-E-B- Tournament of Champions.
The James A. Ragan Humanitarian Award
The James & Mecklin Ragan Award for Courage
Cord recipients are listed below:
Jeremiah Guy-Williams, President
Shelby Rivera, President
H.M. King High School
Raquel Longoria, President
Ava Constant, President
Gabby Ward, President
King High School
Lauren Solis, President
Landen Ross, President
Emily Clower, President
Derek Curtis, President
Jolea Cortez, President
Gilbert Trevino, President
Carlos Davila Jr
Chase Cortese, President
Juan De la Garza
Sam Susser, President
Sarah Marsh, President
Alicia Gomez, President
Antonio Noyola – Alaniz
Ashleigh Barrera, President
Michelle Nasser – S
Meet TOKC's 2018 James' Wingman!
In 2014, Triumph Over Kid Cancer created the James’ Wingman Program. Each year, our foundation adopts a kid to be the face of childhood cancer for TOKC — a child who reminds us why we do the work that we do. The program’s purpose is to make sure that the next time there was a child with cancer, their story wouldn’t end the same way James’ did.
Emma’s battle with childhood cancer started at birth. At 1 day old, she was transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital with a large mass that deformed her chest. At just 6 days old, Emma underwent a biopsy that uncovered the daunting truth of her sickness. Emma was diagnosed with Spindle Cell Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare variant of childhood cancer. She soon underwent chemo treatment for months, along with another resection 6 months into her treatment. Finally, she was able to finish her first protocol in early May 2018.
In spite of all of this, Emma and her family remain positive and hopeful for her future. She is a fighter whose courage inspires the passion our foundation was built upon. This is why we pledge to the Childhood Cancer Cell Therapy Program at Texas Children’s Hospital and a Phase II trial for lung metastases at M.D. Anderson. Each of these projects has the potential to create major breakthroughs in the treatment and cure of multiple orphan pediatric cancers, with funds received being matched by the institution. With these advancements, we hope to provide Emma with the treatment that gives her hope for a brighter future.
We are very excited that Emma and her family have chosen to join the TOKC family.
Without our amazing volunteers and DoThatOneThing! members, TOKC wouldn’t be able to make the impact we do for the children we serve. They walk alongside kids during a time of unimaginable difficulty and selflessly devote their time towards a greater cause
Anybody can be a volunteer, it takes nothing more than compassion and a desire to change the lives of others. In honor of National Volunteer Month, we are sharing ways that volunteering will brighten your life, as well as the lives of others.
From assisting with fundraising to visiting children in the hospital, volunteers help save lives by filling a need. Kids with cancer find hope and encouragement in knowing that others care about them enough to help them fight for their lives. The events that raise funds to fight childhood cancer always need volunteers to continue the success of our foundation.
The social impact of volunteering is endless. By working together for a greater purpose, you empower others and strengthen the bond of the community. The relationships you form will be everlasting and truly transform a community for the better.
Nobody forgets a person who puts a smile on their face. Kids with cancer face difficult days while undergoing treatment and anyone who can brighten their day will find a spot in their heart forever. These are memories that will last a lifetime.
Every hour that you spend as a volunteer for a charity will make a difference for someone. At TOKC, our volunteers and DoThatOneThing! members get a once in a lifetime chance to inspire and be inspired by the children they help save.
Grow with TOKC
Over the years, TOKC has become a spirit of hope for children and families fighting pediatric cancer. The tree in our logo embodies this spirit, symbolizing life and strength that grows steadfast in the face of challenges, just like the patients we fight for.
With the help of our supporters and their donations, we’ve funded over $3 million of research to improve the treatment and survivability of pediatric cancer. Because our supporters have helped us to grow into what we are today, we wanted to give you some ways for you to blossom with us!
Invest in a Good Cause
Focus on Helping Others
Positively impacting the lives of those in need has been proven to foster happiness. Helping others and volunteering your time promotes a greater sense of community and purpose. You can volunteer to help spread awareness about pediatric cancer or help us fundraise to increase the survivability and treatment of pediatric cancers.
Believe in Yourself
Trust your ability to achieve your goals and make a positive impact in the world. Look to individuals, like pediatric cancer patients, who have faced impossible challenges to show you that anything is possible!
Face Your Fears
Conquering even our smallest fears prove that you have the strength to overcome obstacles. The patients that we work with embody this strength, carrying the weight of unimaginable circumstance with a smile on their face. If they can, so can you!
Be Mindful of Yourself and Others
Focusing on the moment helps you appreciate what you have. With this perspective, we are better equipped to take on the world and help others that are in need.
We hope that in your growth, you help others like pediatric cancer patients blossom into the inspiring adults they hope to be one day. By helping TOKC, you can provide funds necessary for research to end pediatric cancer and make these kids’ hope a reality.
Spread the Love
We at TOKC work hard year-round to show our love for our community and the children that we fight to save. In honor of valentine season, we invite you to help share the love with TOKC in these simple ways:
Make a Patient Your Valentine
Help lift their spirits by making a pediatric cancer patient your valentine. Write a letter, get some holiday candy and deliver them to a patient and watch their face light up with love! For information on patients to make your valentine, please contact us.
Fundraise the Love
You can help spread the love by fundraising for TOKC in your community. Plan an event or sell valentine – themed items to raise funds for TOKC and our mission. Here are some helpful starters:
- Host a community couples party dinner party with admission benefiting TOKC
- Sell chocolates and flowers to benefit TOKC
- Sell love cards and poems that benefit TOKC
Donate in the Name of a Loved One
This year make donations to TOKC in the name of your valentine. Together, you and your significant other can commit to sharing your love with those in need. Any amount helps make our mission a possibility.
We have an endless amount of love to give and there are countless ways it can be expressed. Take this valentine season to help TOKC spread the love to pediatric cancer patients.