My 8 yr old daughter, Scarlett, was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma in October 2013. Like any other Wednesday evening in our house, I had just finished reading a story to Scarlett and I was sitting next to her in her bed. As I gently stroked her cheek, I tucked a piece of her hair behind her ears when I felt a hard lump on her head that felt like a marble. I moved my hand around her head and I realized that there was more than one. I immediately ran to the living room to get my husband. As he felt her lumps – I whispered above my daughter’s head, “Could this be cancer?” In my wildest dreams, I never thought one of my children would be diagnosed with cancer. This is NYC. I worried about a cab jumping the curb or a white van with a strange man lurking on the corner but cancer? Not on my radar. Six days later, Scarlett was diagnosed with T Cell Lymphoma. Over the past 18 months, I have proudly watched my daughter handle her treatment with strength and grace. To date, she has endured almost daily chemotherapy treatments, 10 rounds of radiation, and 23 spinal taps. I have seen Scarlett at her lowest point. I have seen Scarlett struggle. I have watched Scarlett in the fight of her life. If you had seen what I have seen, you would understand why I have spent the last 9 months doing everything in my power to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. The current treatment saves lives ~ but it is brutal. We can do better.
Until my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, I did not know that pediatric cancer research was drastically under researched, underfunded and rarely discussed. The market for kids with cancer is too small to attract the attention of the pharmaceutical companies. Meanwhile, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children. According to Dr. Paul Meyers at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), ” It’s hard to get people interested in studying it. We have many exciting things that make a difference in childhood cancers, but they were abandoned because they don’t make a profit.” That is why the role of taxpayer funded National Cancer Institute is critical. Yet, only 4% of its annual budget is allocated to childhood cancer. A lack of funding impedes scientific discovery that we desperately need to improve survival rates and to create more effective and less toxic treatments for our children. The last significant change for pediatric cancer was chemotherapy and that was over 20 years ago. The doctors and scientists have pushed chemotherapy to its limit. It’s time to find less toxic and more effective treatments.
I am thrilled to report that because of your generosity, we are making significant strides forward. To date, The Scarlett Fund has raised over $350,000. The money we have raised will be used to research novel targeted therapies which has great potential. Because these therapies target cancer cells, they reduce toxicity to healthy tissues and decrease long term side effects. This is especially important for growing children.
Robert and I are so grateful for all of you for making The Scarlett Fund possible. Your support and generosity have absolutely exceeded all expectations. We have raised awareness and money in so many ways and we wanted to take a moment and acknowledge those who participated in our many fund raisers over the last year.
- TEAM ROAR WALK 2014 – Kids Walk with Kids With Cancer – over $175,000 raised with over 130 families/participants
- TEAM ROAR RUN 2014 – NYC Marathon with Fred’s Team – over $110,000 raised with 7 team members
- TEAM ROAR CYCLE 2015 – Cycle for Survival – over $10,000 raised with 24 team members with a month to go!
- Cantor Fitzgerald/BGC Charity Day – $$$ raised with the support of management, colleagues, clients and our celebrity ambassador, Bridget Moynahan!
- Sail to Sable “The Scarlett Tunic” – over $10,000 raised with more tunics to sell!
- Kirna Zabete and The Vintage Contessa book launch – over $10,000 raised with more books to sell!
- Charity Buzz – On line auction of sports memorabilia from a great friend- over $30,000 raised
- The Vintage Contessa Birthday Luncheon in Houston – over $15,000 raised
- Countless lemonade stands & charity birthday parties by Scarlett’s friends and classmates – priceless
Scarlett has taught us all the true meaning of resilience. As parents, we could not be more proud of how she is handling what seems like an insurmountable journey. We are planning on Scarlett returning to her beloved Sacred Heart in some capacity in March. We are hoping that she will complete her chemotherapy treatments around the end of 2015. It is so wonderful and refreshing to think about all of the positive steps ahead!
There are many ways to support The Scarlett Fund which are listed below. Please contact me directly if you have any questions or other ideas! We are always looking for creative and fun ways to raise awareness and much needed funds to support pediatric cancer research!
TEAM ROAR WALK 2015 – Kids Walk with Kids with Cancer on Saturday, May 9th in Central Park – Registration is now open!
TEAM ROAR RUN 2015 – NYC Marathon 2015 with Fred’s Team – we have 5 team members and are looking for more – contact me if you are interested in participating in this absolutely magical experience.
TEAM ROAR CYCLE 2015
Houston Risotto Festival – Save the Date for Sunday, November 8th – a day of family fun and eating – more information to follow
I truly believe that Scarlett will win her battle against cancer – but we are not leaving the war. Scarlett understands that curing cancer is no small task. Scarlett knows first hand that there is more work to be done. Robert, Austin and I will continue to fight along side Scarlett until we can do more than just imagine a world without cancer. We can actually live in one. Thank you for joining the battle. Together, we truly are making a difference.