The Hugs for Brady Foundation has taken another giant step in the fight against pediatric cancer. The foundation recently made a $100,000 commitment to fund the Hugs for Brady Young Investigator Award in pediatric hematology/oncology at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ).
Hugs for Brady was started by Mike and Sherrie Wells, of Kendall Park, in honor of their son from pediatric leukemia.
“While Hugs for Brady is continually active in providing some of the comforts of home to pediatric cancer patients while they are undergoing treatment, we felt it was important to address behind-the-scenes needs as well,” Sherrie said. “What better way to make a difference than to directly provide scientists with the tools they need to bring us closer to a cure. This support serves as an investment both in the youngsters being treated today and in the children of tomorrow, who Michael and I hope never have to endure what Brady and so many other children and their families have.”
The Wells started the Hugs for Brady Foundation with the goal of helping the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital (BMSCH) fight pediatric cancer. The non-profit organization supports all causes concerning pediatric cancer, from buying custom built wagons, computers, televisions and video games for patients, to helping finance a pediatric/hematology fellowship program.
The award to CINJ will provide a two-year grant for a young academic physician or scientist who shows "exceptional ability and promise" for doing innovative pediatric cancer research.
“Funding a young investigator helps foster creativity and a passion for the research at hand. It also allows for a certain level of continuity, as an investigator who becomes involved with a certain facet of scientific exploration early on in his or her career is more likely to remain devoted to that particular area of research, thus helping to bring about significant advances,” said CINJ’s interim Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Richard Drachtman, MD, who was Brady’s doctor. “We are grateful to the Hugs for Brady Foundation for this support and its continued commitment to children, families, and the fight against pediatric cancer.”
In 2011, the foundation held 10 blood and platelet drives, conducted 42 weeks of flower deliveries to five local hospitals, purchased and distributed 18 Brady Buggy custom built wagons to sick children, purchased 24 flat screen televisions, and 24 Wii and Xbox gaming systems installed at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital, and secured funding for the pediatric young investigator.
“A young investigator is typically defined as someone in postdoctoral training or who has recently completed postdoctoral training," Sherrie said earlier this year. "Young Investigators are extremely enthusiastic about their work, yet they do not yet have the experience or knowledge and frequently need assistance moving their research ideas forward. The mission of the Hugs for Brady Foundation, in cooperation with New Jersey Cancer Institute and CureSearch, is to develop young investigators into leaders in the administration, research, and scientific agenda of Children’s Oncology Group (COG)."
To fund their mission in the fight against pediatric cancer, Hugs for Brady will be holding a on Sunday at the . There will be a tricky tray raffle in addition to the delicious breakfast options.
Admission costs $5 for kids and $10 for adults.
The foundation will also be hosting the Hugs for Brady Twilight 5k and Family Fun Run on April 28 at South Brunswick High School, starting at 3 p.m. Click here to register.