17 February 2009

The day of the shaving approacheth!

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Just under a month to go before I will be shaving my head to cure pediatric cancer. So far, through your generosity, I have raised almost $4,000, which is almost 40% of my goal of $10,000! You guys rock!

Once again I would like to thank those of you who have already made a gift, and ask those who have not yet to consider a donation. Even small sums of $50 or so are valuable and necessary. St Baldrick's is the largest private foundation dedicated to the cancers which strike down children, and raised over $18 million last year. Of that, over 75% went directly to research towards cancer therapies. With the current economic climate and the general dearth of governmental funds for pediatric malignancies, organizations like Baldrick's are essential in keeping the research moving forward.

Research like that performed by my friend BethV, who is working on a nasty cancer called medulloblastoma. She is working on the signal transduction pathway that is responsible for the activation of the "cancer gene." This pathway was whimsically named "Sonic the Hedgehog," by an anonymous grad student in the lab late one night. A funny name for a serious disease. Beth's task now is to find compounds that can shut off this pathway, and she is screening some very promising candidates. This work is funded in large part by a grant from the St Baldrick's foundation.

Unfortunately, useful clinical therapies from this work may come too late for Henry, whose medulloblastoma was diagnosed only in October 2007, but has proven resistant to treatment, and Henry is transitioning to hospice care; my heart goes out to him and his family. Medulloblastoma is the most common brain tumor in children, and no effective treatment is available for recurrent disease.

And a cure, when it comes, will be too late for Nathan, who lost his battle against neuroblastoma in July 2007.

So, if you can, please take a moment and visit the St Baldrick's web site and make a donation; whatever you can afford. Together, we are doing our part to support scientists like Beth on their work towards cures for these terrible diseases. And remember, all donors will receive a free, high-quality digital image of me, freshly shaven and goofy-looking for your viewing enjoyment. Print it out and draw a mustache on it! Put it on your dartboard -- next to the picture of Barack Obama! Frame it and build a small shrine in my honor! The option is yours, and there's no wrong choice. So what are you waiting for? Click the link and make a gift!

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