AUGUSTA, GA, – September xx, 2015 – CAM FUND (www.camfund.org), a non-profit organization, has been established to fund medical research into innovative therapies and cures for childhood brain cancer. The non-profit group has been secured under The Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area (www.cfcsra.org). The Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that acts as a catalyst to help focus local philanthropy on pressing and changing community needs and receives funds on behalf of many different charitable organizations.
CAM FUND was founded by Terri and Mark Rettig to honor the memory of their grandson, Caiden Ash Murray, who passed away in 2014. Caiden had a large, malignant Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET). He died just four days before his third birthday. Caiden had shown no symptoms of a brain tumor. He displayed only flu-like symptoms just 12 hours before the ambulance was called.
CAM FUND raises money through various events to support research into all types of childhood brain cancers. The fundraisers scheduled include a weekly breakfast sale and monthly pizza lunch at Molex, LLC in Auburn Hills, MI, dinners, and a recent road rally in Rochester, MI. Also, the First Annual Caiden’s Charity Golf Classic will take place next year, Sept. 12, 2016, at the Woodside Country Club in Aiken, SC.
CAM FUND will provide ongoing financial support to doctors and researchers at the Georgia Regents University Medical Center in Augusta for their work in the area of immunotherapy.
The CAM FUND logo, shown above, was inspired by “Mr. Lion,” a stuffed animal that was Caiden’s constant companion. “We want to honor Caiden’s memory while supporting innovative medical exploration that may help other children,” said Terri Rettig. “We have met brilliant scientists who are doing remarkable work in this field, and we will help them continue their research.”
Donations to CAM FUND can be made by credit card at www.camfund.org or by checks made payable to The Community Foundation for the CSRA, c/o CAM FUND. Mail checks to:
The Community Foundation for the CSRA, P.O. Box 31358, Augusta, GA 30903. For more information, e-mail CAM FUND at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Community Foundation for the CSRA:
The foundation is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) charitable organization that exists to maintain the charitable intent of donors making gifts, allowing immediate and future tax benefits, and to act as a catalyst to help focus local philanthropy on pressing and changing community needs. The Foundation serves as administrator of a collection of gifts, large and small, unrestricted and donor advised, given to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Richmond, Columbia, McDuffie and Burke Counties in Georgia, and Aiken and Edgefield Counties in South Carolina.
Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET) describes tumors that occur primarily in the cerebrum, but can spread to other parts of the brain and spine. PNET’s are very rare and are thought to develop from primitive (undifferentiated) nerve cells in the brain. PNET’s contain underdeveloped brain cells, are highly malignant, and tend to spread throughout the central nervous system.
Aiken Church to Dedicate New Playground and Pavilion
New Outdoor Church Space Donated by the Rettig Family
in Memory of Grandson
AIKEN, SC — New Covenant Presbyterian Church (ncpcaiken.org) will dedicate a new playground and pavilion at 11 a.m. on April 16. Pastor Drew Kornreich and Project Manager Terry Shiver will conduct the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will be followed by the church’s annual spring picnic.
“NCPC is proud to unveil our newest outdoor playground and pavilion facilities,” said Kornreich. “The new facility will serve as a place for church members to enjoy family time together and to congregate for barbecues and other festive occasions.” The first worship service was held in the pavilion Easter Sunday for a sunrise service attended by more than 100 members and visitors, followed by a breakfast for all.
The $84,000 project features the latest play equipment, a handicap-accessible entrance, a full-service kitchen and restrooms for various church activities. The new facility was funded by Terri and Mark Rettig in memory of their young grandson, Caiden Ash Murray, who passed away suddenly in 2014 from brain cancer. Terri and Mark have also founded the CAM FUND (camfund.org), a non-profit organization that funds cancer research.
“After Caiden’s passing, we were overwhelmed by the love, support, compassion, and thoughtfulness of every member of the NCPC congregation,” said Mark. “When we tried to thank people for their generosity, many said ‘Don’t thank me, just pay it forward’. This is our opportunity to do that.”
“We’re excited to see this playground come to life,” said Terri. “We know it’s something that Caiden would have enjoyed immensely. We will always miss the joy of hearing Caiden’s laughter, but cannot wait to hear the giggles of the many children who will use this playground for years to come.”
About CAM FUND:
The CAM FUND provides ongoing financial support to doctors and researchers who are dedicated to finding treatments and cures for childhood brain cancer. Donations to CAM FUND can be made by credit card at www.camfund.org or by checks made payable to The Community Foundation for the CSRA, c/o CAM FUND, P.O. Box 31358, Augusta, GA 30903. For more information, e-mail CAM FUND at email@example.com
CAM FUND Joins Press On in the Fight Against Childhood Brain Cancer
New Partnership Launches with $150,000 Donation to Ground-Breaking Medical Research
AUGUSTA, GA, – November xx, 2017 – CAM FUND (www.camfund.org), a non-profit organization, working to fund medical research into innovative therapies and cures for childhood brain cancer, announce that they have joined forces with Press On (http://pressonfund.org/), a likeminded non-profit.
Together, the organizations are combining efforts for one goal — to end childhood cancer in our lifetime. This shared mission, along with their shared experiences of young loved ones fighting cancer, led them to develop a partnership. Now backed by a medical advisory board, the CAM FUND strengthens their reach and contribution with Press On to fund pediatric cancer research. Together they are better equipped to find the innovative therapies that can help countless children.
The partnership was announced on September 23, 2017, during a BBQ hosted by the CAM FUND. During that event, the organizations presented a check for $150,000 to the Georgia Cancer Center. The funds directly impact and support the ground-breaking brain cancer research being driven by Dr. Ted Johnson.
“This is just the first of many collaborated efforts we expect to bring to medical research to help find a cure for childhood brain cancer. The innovative work that Dr. Johnson is doing shows great promise to getting us there. Together we are stronger for the voices that have been silenced too soon,” said Mark and Terri Rettig, founders, CAM FUND.
“With contributions and ongoing support from wonderful organizations such as the CAM FUND and Press On, medical research is able to further its reach in finding a cure,” said Dr. Ted Johnson, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, at the Medical College of Georgia.
To join us in spreading awareness and to learn how to fight this disease together, please visit http://www.camfund.org.
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About CAM FUND
CAM FUND works to raise awareness and funds for medical research and cures for childhood brain cancer. The CAM FUND has been secured under The Community Foundation for the CSRA’s non-profit umbrella (cfcsra.org).
About Press On
Press On is a field of interest fund under The Community Foundation for the CSRA‘s non-profit umbrella. Press On invests in medical research focused on novel and less toxic therapies for pediatric cancer.
$150,000 donation helps Georgia Cancer Center researchers find treatment for children with brain cancer
What started out as a fun football game at a South Carolina elementary school in October has brought family and friends together to form a circle of support around a child battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.
“I fell unconscious and had to go to the hospital,” 9-year-old Kaiden Morrel said.
Morrel had to have a CT scan at the local hospital in Allendale, South Carolina. His mom, Shay, said doctors saw something suspicious and decided to send her son to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia to have a second CT scan.
“They found something on that scan, too,” Morrel said. “They decided to do an MRI on Kaiden and that’s when they confirmed he had cancer.”
After learning about the diagnosis, Dr. Ted Johnson, associate professor at the Medical College of Georgia, and his team approached the Morrel family to see if they were interested in being part of the clinical trial in the Pediatric Immunotherapy Program.
“Everything went from a blur to ‘Okay, we’ll do whatever that’s hopeful to help Kaiden,’” said Daphne Conner, Kaiden’s aunt. “It wasn’t even a question, if it had a chance to help Kaiden.”
Johnson says a recent donation of $150,000 from the partnership of Press On Foundation and CAM Fund is helping cover the cost of enrolling Morrel in the clinical trial. He is the first Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) patient to be part of the trial.
“We always planned on enrolling DIPG patients in our clinical trial,” Johnson said. “That was our goal. But we didn’t include these patients in the trial initially due to safety concerns. Now, we are able to handle these kinds of cases with the experience we have.”
In all, 40 pediatric patients with brain tumors are being treated in the program. Two of those patients travel from European countries to Augusta, Georgia, to be treated by Johnson and his team.
“We are turning our attention to up-front treatment with immunotherapy,” Johnson said. “These are patients whose immune systems are as strong as they are ever going to be. Their immune system has not been assaulted by multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy.”
Johnson presented what he calls “promising” preliminary data from his clinical research using an IDO-inhibitor, Indoximod, at a pair of conferences in November. The first was at the International Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Conference in Houston, Texas. He also spoke at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology in San Francisco.
Morrel, who received radiation for 28 days straight, finished radiation in early December, and now starts monthly cycles of immune-chemotherapy.
His family says the resources and care they’ve received at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia and the partnership with the Georgia Cancer Center for the Pediatric Immunotherapy Program have been a blessing.
“You don’t’ have to be away from your home and family,” Conner said. “It’s reassuring to be able to get support right here. We have family here in Augusta, so we don’t have to drive 45 minutes to an hour back to Allendale after each visit.”
*Editor’s note: We have an update to share about Kaiden’s latest scan. His aunt, Daphne Conner, says her nephew’s newest PET scan showed no sign of the tumor. The family will continue to follow-up with Dr. Johnson and his team for future monitoring of Kaiden’s condition.
Contact: Chris Curry, firstname.lastname@example.org, (706) 799-8841
Augusta, GA (Oct. 22, 2019) – They are the littlest patients facing one of life’s biggest battles from a disease that can be deadly. However, children undergoing treatment for brain cancer and other forms of cancer have an ally in their fight. It is a team of families coming together to provide a $1 million gift to fund research and new treatment options.
“As parents who have experienced this fight first-hand, we know how important hope is for families,” said Tara Simkins, co-founder of the Press On Fund and mother to Brennan, a childhood cancer survivor. “We are extraordinarily hopeful about this groundbreaking pediatric immunotherapy research being done right here in Augusta, treating children from around the world and offering promise for less toxic and more effective treatment options for children battling cancer.”
The $1 million gift will create the Press On Pediatric Cancer Fund at Georgia Cancer Center and will support the Pediatric Immunotherapy Program including expenses related to research and essential needs specifically those associated with a pediatric bone marrow transplant program. Press On is a field of interest fund held by the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area.
“Supporting pediatric cancer research happening at the Georgia Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital of Georgia is critical for improving the health of future generations,” said Shell Berry, president and CEO of The Community Foundation. “It is our privilege to partner with the Press On Fund so they can distribute monies to efforts that have the potential to change the littlest of lives here at home and across the globe.”
Dr. Theodore Johnson and Dr. David Munn, M.D. are the physician-scientists behind the promising pediatric immunotherapy research Press On is supporting. Immunotherapy is a treatment approach to cancer that harnesses the power of the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer, making possible less toxic and more effective therapies. The Georgia Cancer Center is the first program to integrate chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation to treat children with relapsed brain tumors.
“We are honored to receive this generous gift from our friends at the Press On Fund,” said Dr. Brooks A. Keel, president of Augusta University. “The support of community partners allows us to continue the work of Drs. Johnson and Munn in offering a complete array of clinical trials for families searching for immunotherapy options for their children with relapsed cancer.”
About Press On Fund
Press On is a field of interest fund under The Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area‘s nonprofit umbrella. Press On’s unique mission is to identify feasible and groundbreaking alternative therapies for childhood cancers and to invest monies raised in a manner that supports the science and infrastructure needed to cure childhood cancer within our lifetime. Press On, created in 2006, is made up of the Chance, Simkins, and Crawford families whose lives were connected by childhood cancer. Turner and Tara Simkins of Augusta joined the team after their middle son, Brennan, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on the eve of his 7th birthday in January 2009. Other local Press On families include Mark and Terri Rettig of Aiken, SC who founded CAM FUND after their grandson Caiden Ash Murray, passed away four days before his 3rd birthday in March 2014, from a ruptured brain tumor. CAM FUND formed a partnership with Press On in 2017.
About The Community Foundation for the CSRA
The Community Foundation for the CSRA is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to engage, inform, and inspire donors and nonprofits to build a stronger and more vibrant community. It is made up of over 250 funds which collectively have given over $100 million in grants to our community and beyond.
About Children’s Hospital of Georgia and Georgia Cancer Center
The 154-bed not-for-profit Children’s Hospital of Georgia is Augusta’s only children’s hospital, providing the highest level of neonatal and pediatric intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children. The Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University is dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer in Georgia and across the globe through superior care, innovation, and education. Through unprecedented expansion, the Georgia Cancer Center is providing access to more first-in-the-nation clinical trials, world-renowned experts and lifesaving options.