The fight to beat cancer continues. According to Cancer.org, cancer rates among children have been rising for the past few decades. But with major advances in treatment in recent years, more than 80 percent of cancer-stricken kids are now able to survive the disease for 5 years or more. This is why organizations like the B+ foundation are invaluable when it comes to funding cancer research and providing financial and emotional support to families of children stricken with cancer across the United States.
What Is the B+ Foundation?
The B+ Foundation was created to honor the life of Andrew McDonough. Andrew was living an active life as a student-athlete in Wilmington, Delaware. On January 27, 2007, after leading his team to victory in a Pennsylvania state championship soccer tournament, Andrew went through cardiac arrest and was diagnosed with AML Leukemia.
For 167 days, Andrew battled leukemia, the complications that came with childhood cancer, and septic shock. He passed away on July 14, 2007 at the tender age of 14 years old. The B+ Foundation was named after Andrew's blood type. “Be Positive” encapsulated the perfect message when it came to the B+ Foundation's cause. “Be Positive” is not a grade but an attitude. It has become the lifelong motto of his family and friends in working together to fight the disease that killed Andrew.
By raising money through various efforts (dance marathons, 5Ks, T-shirt sales and a lot more), the B+ Foundation plays a vital role in funding “critical, cutting-edge childhood cancer research” and in providing for the financial and emotional needs of families who are dealing with childhood cancer.
What Is the Mission of the B+ Foundation?
The B+ Foundation's mission focuses on four areas: cancer research, financial assistance, awareness, and positivity. At its core, the B+ Foundation's mission fulfills these four objectives:
1. Provide Financial Assistance to Families of Children With Cancer
The B+ Foundation has helped thousands of families across the United States, providing them with both financial and emotional support as they go through the process of treatment and care for a child who's afflicted with cancer. Through the efforts being made by the B+ Foundation Family Assistance Program, the foundation has become the largest provider of financial assistance to families of kids with cancer nationwide.
2. Fund Research Into Cures and Treatment
The B+ Foundation has been providing research grants to several cancer institutions over the years, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (TN), the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (MA), the Seattle Children's Hospital (WA), the Children's Oncology Group (CA), as well as the Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research (DE).
These research grants are funded in part by the B+ Foundation with the help of sponsors and donors. In 2018, the B+ Foundation reported that the Fall 2018 Research Grant Cycle has released a total of $1.5 million which was awarded across 10 two-year grants of $75,000 a year.
3. Increase Awareness Among Everyone
The B+ Foundation is aware that less than 4 percent of the federal government's cancer research budget goes to childhood cancer research. Because of this, the foundation has beefed up its efforts by co-founding the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer, “a collaborative network of organizations and individuals supporting and serving the childhood cancer community.” The B+ Foundation is also a member of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer.
4. Spread the “Be Positive” Message
The B+ Foundation is actively spreading and sharing the “Be Positive” message through outreach efforts and talks. It is also their way of honoring Andrew McDonough's life and legacy “to have fun, set goals, and try your best, show affection, and be comfortable with yourself.”
What Has the B+ Foundation Achieved So Far?
On a yearly basis, The B+ Foundation has awarded millions of dollars to thousands of families who are dealing with childhood cancer in over 200 hospitals across America. The foundation's world-class Scientific Advisory Board is tasked with guiding the process of awarding research grants to leading institutions and investigators.
Pediatric cancer grants that have been funded by the B+ Foundation include:
In order to achieve their goals, the B+ Foundation works with social workers at over 200 hospitals nationwide. These social workers are instrumental in acquiring Family Assistance Program applications. These applications need to be completed by a social worker or a medical caregiver to ensure that the medical diagnosis and financial situation of the family are accurate and authentic.
How Can You Contribute to the B+ Foundation's Mission?
There are several ways that you can get involved in fulfilling the B+ Foundation's core objectives.
1. Host a Fundraiser for Childhood Cancer at Your School
Bring the positivity to your campus by organizing and hosting a fundraiser to raise money for the B+ Foundation. Colleges, student organizations, sports teams, clubs, fraternities, and sororities have been initiating their own fundraisers for childhood cancer.
2. Support and Attend Events for the Benefit of the B+ Foundation
The B+ Foundation relies on the support of volunteers, participants, and sponsors to keep their events running and growing every year. The B+ Foundation's supporters even organize their own events, dedicating the proceeds to the foundation's cause.
3. Create Your Own Fundraiser in Small Ways
Kids and teens can also help in their own small ways by organizing their own fundraiser. Little acts of generosity such as receiving donations for the B+ Foundation instead of birthday or holiday gifts, filling a jar with spare change, doing garage sales or talent shows for the benefit of the foundation, and other fundraising efforts will go a long way in helping the B+ Foundation meet its goals in raising funds for cancer research and for the needs of families who have children with cancer.
4. Become a Sponsor
Sponsorship opportunities for various B+ events are available all year long. The B+ Foundation's sponsors include Brave The Shave, Jetset Magazine, Visa, and J.P. Morgan Chase.
5. Invite Joe McDonough to Speak at Your Event
Joe McDonough is an experienced and professional public speaker who tailors his speeches based on the audience's need but also speaks on behalf of the B+ Foundation by telling the story of Andrew McDonough's life, how one can Live Like Andrew every day and the objectives of the B+ Foundation.
Speaking engagements that Joe McDonough has done include:
6. Buy B+ Merchandise
The B+ Foundation has a wide array of merchandise that you can buy: T-shirts, jerseys, caps, sterling silver jewelry, etc. Proceeds from the merchandise sales help further the foundation's cause.
7. Donate to the B+ Foundation
This is perhaps, the easiest way to contribute to The B+ Foundation's cause in helping fight pediatric cancer. You can donate directly online through The B+ Foundation's website or you can also mail your donations to:
The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation
101 Rockland Circle
Wilmington, DE 19803
The B+ Foundation is an IRS-certified 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and will provide acknowledgment letters for tax-deductible donations.
B+ Foundation: Conclusion
In 2018, The National Cancer Institute estimated that 15,590 children and adolescents between the ages of 0 to 19 will be diagnosed with cancer, and 1,780 of them will not survive. The breakdown further states that 10,590 will be children from ages 0 to 14 and 5,000 will be adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. According to the institute, the most common cancers among children aged 0 to 19 are leukemia, brain and central nervous system tumors, and lymphomas.
Based on the most recent data acquired (as of January 1, 2015), The National Cancer Institute reported that approximately 429,000 survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer who were diagnosed at age 0 to 19 years are still living. Additionally, the institute gave an optimistic forecast stating that “the number of survivors will continue to increase given that the incidence of childhood cancer has been rising slightly in recent decades and survival rates overall are improving.”
This is why organizations like the B+ Foundation are exceptionally helpful, influential, and instrumental in finding a cure for childhood cancer and in providing financial support to the families of children with cancer.
The fight to cure cancer is still a long and costly journey, but with the support of individuals, organizations, and businesses through sponsorships, donations, and contributions to non-profits like The B+ Foundation, we're getting a step closer each day to beating this devastating disease.