Childhood cancer is an area that requires research and innovation, as there are currently many unmet medical needs within these patient populations. Fortunately, one non-profit has been working on raising money for one rare, childhood cancer: rhabdomyosarcoma.
Ari’s Bears is a non-profit founded back in 2018, created to bring love and support to children undergoing cancer treatment. Patients are brought the teddy bears along with Ari’s Bears’ mission and the story of its founder in an effort to uplift them.
Ari’s Bears’ founder is Ariella Stein, an Ewing’s sarcoma patient who was diagnosed at just nine years old. After intense treatment, surgery, and lots of perseverance, Ari was declared No Evidence of Disease (NED). Sadly, the cancer returned in 2018, and she passed away in 2019 due to complications of a bone marrow transplant.
Now, Ari’s mother, Erica, carries on the legacy of Ari’s Bears. To date, the charity has given out over 2,000 bears to pediatric cancer patients. It has also grown its services to include scholarships and grant programs.
Ari’s Bears for Rhabdomyosarcoma Research
Erica was inspired to aid in rhabdomyosarcoma research after connecting with Megan Bugg at Cure Fest in 2018. Megan has lived with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma for over six years, and she has been working tirelessly to ensure that no other children have to go through what she has endured.
One way she has done so is by becoming a Citizen Scientist with the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI). Here, she helps contribute to research funding, with many of the contributions coming from her thousands of Team Megan Bugg supporters (who you can join here).
In fact, her supporters came together with help from Ari’s Bears to collectively raise almost $400,000 for rhabdomyosarcoma research. Ari’s Bears also provided $30,000 through a research grant in an effort to help with this research. In Erica’s words,
“Sarcomas are the rarest of childhood cancers and ultimately need the most research. Any progress in one area may offer help with another, and I believe providing a substantial grant to this project is what Ariella would have wanted.”
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare form of childhood cancer that begins in the soft tissue. While it most commonly affects children, people of any age may be impacted. It leads to varying symptoms depending on where in the soft tissue the tumor forms, but possible symptoms include blood in the urine, issues with bowel movements, trouble urinating, swelling in the eyes, headaches, bleeding in the throat, nose, and ears; and masses or bleeding in the vagina or rectum.
Medical professionals do not know what causes this cancer, although they have identified a number of risk factors, such as a family history of cancer, Noonan’s syndrome, and Costello syndrome. In terms of treatment, a combination of therapies is typically required. Options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and clinical trials.
You can find the source article here.