TEAM G 2016 Highlights

We are coming to the end of the year with great promises for 2017. In reflection, we have so many amazing events to recap and we saw tangible growth as childhood cancer awareness continues to make an impact.

The recognition during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September from The Bay Club Company was an overwhelming honor. The Bay Club Founded in 1977, (formerly Western Athletic Clubs) is an active lifestyle and hospitality company with a network of 24 modern country clubs across 10 campuses—five in Northern California (Marin, San Francisco, Redwood Shores, Silicon Valley and Los Gatos) and five in Southern California (Santa Barbara, San Diego and three in Los Angeles) raised an IMPRESSIVE $54,000 towards childhood cancer.

Forever grateful for the support from The Bay Clubs, our yearly donors, volunteer efforts, and individuals spreading the word about our foundation…..here is our year in review…

 

 

The Bay Club Partnership

This past September has been an incredible month of fundraising for Team G.

We saw an amazing number of individuals and groups coming together to raise awareness around children fighting cancer and fundraise for such an important mission…to end pediatric cancer through research. Through our travels in the world of pediatric cancer, we have meet some incredible parents. Parents that have been fighting their child’s cancer and going above and beyond to raise precious funding so no families have to travel on this same devastating journey. We’ve met some of these parents and can I just tell you….they are amazing!

A special acknowledgement for these parents must be shared!

Gina and Mike Rodriguez who have continuously worked with The Bay Club to make this fundraising possible in honor of their daughter Sofia.

Gabrielle and Raul Contreras who dedicated their daughter Giselle’s Celebration of Life to raising funds for research at Lucile Packard.

Denise and Ralph Vernacchia for sharing their daughter Sofia’s journey and tirelessly putting forth efforts on this mission.

Ashley and Jason Khalipa for helping to share much needed awareness for pediatric cancer and all their efforts to hold life saving blood drives.

Brittany and Zach Smith for sharing your daughter Samantha’s story to promote awareness and for fundraising to better the chances of children fighting cancer.

A special thanks to The Bay Club and everyone on their team including Kelsey, Director of Social Media for all of the effort by her and her team on presenting these special children in a whole new light, the team in San Francisco for the awesome “Yoga on the Plaza” days, Larry and Nazanine and the team at Boulder Ridge for the Sunrise Yoga festivities, and the team behind the Charity Golf Tournament and dinner also at Boulder Ridge.

Special acknowledgment to Bay Club leaders:

Annie Appel
Lisa Graf
Megan Devlin
Morgan Martin
Erika Felix
Holly Chirko
Jennifer Lythgoe
Alyssa DiMaria

These festivities were beyond incredible in their presentation. Their hard work and dedication was successful with over $50,000 for pediatric cancer. Yes, $50,000! Can you believe it?  To see photos from the Sunrise Yoga, please CLICK HERE. And San Francisco, CLICK HERE.

Children’s Circle of Care

Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation was invited to a 100+ person private event to honor people and organizations that provide donations above a certain level to Lucile Packards Children’s Hospital through the Children’s Circle of Care.

We were more than fortunate to personally meet and listen to the research work of Dr Crystal MacKall who is considered a “trail blazer” for her research in immunotherapy. Stanford recruited her this year from the National Cancer Institute to lead progressive work in cancer treatments. What an honor to meet this incredibly personable woman who is also part of the 5 person “Dream Team” for Stand up to Cancer. Doctor MacKall was energized, demonstrated so much passion for her work, and is so eager to start implementing incredible medical trial at LPCH in 2017!

Amongst this incredible group of generous donors, included oncology research doctors and PHDs from across the US and from as far as Sweden. It was incredibly empowering to discuss our medical concerns and have our questions addressed from such brilliant people that have be so focused on pediatric cancer for in many cases over 30 years. We were personally introduced to the head of pediatric at LPCH and also the CEO himself Christopher Dawes.

There was no expensed barred for the evening event which was held in a private estate in Atherton. From valet, welcoming champagne, passed hors d’oeuvres, main course serving stations and dessert stations, this event was executed with perfection.

This evening invigorated us to continue raising funds for this hospital with so many amazing medical advancements on the edge of major break throughs.

Team G Welcomes New Directors

This past year has been a busy and exciting one for Team G. We have welcomed many new, amazing, and enthusiastic people to our team! We are so excited to be surrounded by people who are passionate about our fight to end childhood cancer. Please CLICK HERE for more information on Our Team!

Hope Tote Donation

300+ Delivered this year. 900+ since the beginning!

“I’d like to think that finding a cure for pediatric cancer is our most important mission but I know that children will still be diagnosed with cancer today. And these children still need hope, support, and love through their journey.

When we would bring Gabriella to the hospital for her long chemo treatments, I would always make sure to pack a couple of colorful pillow cases and blankets that were given to us along the way. The first thing I’d do when setting G’s bed up was to adorn it with those special items and brighten up her room. It did so much more than change a dreary bed. It lifted our spirits.” ~ Kristin Cosner, Founder

Research Donations 2016

$11,177 to Lucile Packard Dr. Crystal Mackall

$7,500 to UCSC Treehouse Project

$5,000 to Lucile Packard Dr. Alejandro Sweet Cordero

 

Research Updates

Updates on UCSC Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative: 

2016: As a direct result of support from childhood cancer non-profits such as Team G and from the California State government, we’ve had the opportunity to evaluate the utility of this “pan-cancer” analysis approach for pediatric cancer patients. The California Kids Cancer Comparison (CKCC), funded by California Governor Brown’s Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, is a proof-of-concept pilot for 150 difficult-to-treat pediatric cancer patients, which has provided preliminary evidence that big data analysis of single patients can double the number of treatment leads and therapeutic options for kids with hard to treat cancers. This approach enables comparing genomic information from a given patient to more than 10,000 previously studied genomic datasets from children and adults. Each week, we continue to accumulate new evidence that using shared genomic data to conduct such comparisons in the clinic can identify new treatment options for children with cancer.

 

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital:

Infastructure for pediatric tissue banking: In the next year, we expect to offer universal consents to patients to allow quick and easy enrollment onto our IRB-approved tissue banking protocols, and to hire a full time clinical research coordinator to relieve the pressure on investigators to directly coordinate consent and tissue retrieval.

Creation of sarcoma xenograph models: In the near future, we will pursue whole genome and transcriptome sequencing of the PDX models that we have established. This will not only allow us to confirm the fidelity of the PDX by comparing the passaged tumors to archival samples banked at the time of surgery, but provide critical annotation for ongoing preclinical experiments.

Preclinical modeling of new therapeutic agents in sarcomas: In the next year, we plan to complete formal pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analysis of this compound, and extend our findings in rhabdomyosarcoma into osteosarcoma, a disease that also appears to be sensitive to inhibition of HSP70 and ERAD. We will combine the PDX model we established with Team G support with Dr. Sweet-Cordero’s collection of approximately 20 osteosarcoma PDXs, and are thus poised to move swiftly into a well-powered test of CB-5083 efficacy in a diverse collection of PDX osteosarcoma models. Once we have carried out these critical experiments, we will move forward with a pediatric phase 1 study of this agent that we have been discussing with Cleave Pharmaceuticals.

 

Update on Lucile Packards Jennifer Lynn Kranz DIPG Fund:

“There’s a promising therapy,” says Dr. Michelle Monje, an assistant professor of Neurology at Stanford Medicine. She and her team were the ones who harvested Jennifer’s tumor, and then successfully created a line of DIPG stem cells from it so that the disease could be studied in the lab. DIPG cells had proven notoriously hard to culture in the past, and Jennifer’s stem cell line is now one of only 16 in existence in the world. Using Jennifer’s stem cell lines and others, Monje and her team tested dozens of existing chemotherapy drugs to see if any were effective against DIPG. One appears to be working. 

 

Update on Seattle Children’s Hospital Dr. Courtney Crane/Dr. Michael Jenson:

2015: The initial results are in, and they are exciting! Of the first 22 children treated in our clinical trial using reprogrammed cells to fight acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), 20 have achieved complete remission! This innovative therapy, in which T-cells are genetically modified to hunt down and destroy cancer cells, was developed by Dr. Mike Jensen, director of Seattle Children’s Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. “These results are extremely encouraging,” says Jensen. “This trial is helping us understand how the therapy works, which will hopefully lead to it working for all forms of pediatric cancer.” All of the patients in the study had either relapsed after a bone marrow transplant or were unable to get into remission to proceed with a bone marrow transplant – and faced a 10% to 20% chance of survival with standard treatment. Through the immunotherapy trial, however, researchers are seeing a 91% complete remission rate.

 

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Dr. Jim Olson:

We have tested the ability of our Optide to accumulate in mice bearing human sarcoma xenografts. Upon looking at each individual tissue, we are able to see that the Optide is enriched in tumor when compared to nearly every other mouse tissue. We have used both fluorescent imaging as well as whole-body autoradiography to observe exactly where the molecule goes. We have made over 20 Optides based on our initial result with specific amino acid changes to test their ability to accumulate in the sarcoma xenografts. We were able to find a subset of these Optides with improved tumor accumulation compared to our starting molecule. We will be testing their ability to deliver cytotoxic chemotherapy (the microtubule destabilizing drug MMAE) to the sarcoma cells in vivo and in vitro. Over the past year, we have been testing the ability of our Optide-drug conjugate to induce cell death. It has been able to do so to a number of sarcoma subtypes and other tumor types. We will continue to work on increasing the ability of the conjugate to induce cell death in vitro and in vivo. We are also working to understand how the peptide accumulates in the cancer cells as a way of improving its ability to deliver chemotherapy and induce cancer cell death. We have identified certain endocytosis pathways used by sarcoma cells that are utilized by our molecule to deliver their toxic payload. We will be continuing to improve the tumor accumulation of our molecule and the ability to induce sarcoma-specific cell death.

 

September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

The Bay Club

In Honor of Sofia Rodriguez

Real Superhero’s live in the hearts of Small children fighting Big Battles…

On November 10, 2015, one month after her third birthday, and just 6 weeks after the birth of her brother, Sofia was diagnosed with B-Cell ALL Leukemia. From Day 1 we have experienced sadness, fear, uncertainty, exhaustion AND faith, love, happiness and joy. There is only one thing we know for sure, and that is that Sofia is the strongest person we know and we are so incredibly blessed to have her as our daughter! Her spirit, joy and laughter shine through every day, no matter what.

Over the past 10 months we have learned the awful world of pediatric cancer and we are determined to raise awareness for Sofia and every other superhero fighting today and in the future!

 

Celebration of Life/Flex & Wondergirl To End Childhood Leukemia

In Honor of Giselle Contreras

“My life purpose was redefine when my baby girl was diagnosed with Leukemia at age THREE. The fear that I felt for my daughter is not only unimaginable, it was incomprehensible. I could not understand why god would give cancer to an innocent child. My fear quickly turned into anger as I realized the little research advancement made in childhood leukemia due to lack of funds. So I am making an effort to change that.

My efforts may not help my daughter, but if WE do not stand up together for these little superheroes fighting leukemia, nothing will change in the protocol to treat childhood leukemia. Giselle and I are calling ALL super heroes in the Bay Area and beyond to join forces to make a difference in continuing research funding so, we can have options other than toxic levels of poisons to kill the evil bad cancer cells that kills the good cells at the sometime. The side effects are sometimes the killer but what choices do we have in 2015?? We need to allow research hospitals like Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s hospital in Palo Alto, Ca to unlock the mystery with less invasive methods with less side effects.”

Sincerely, a loving mother who is fighting to save her daughter life.

Gabriella

 

Sofia’s Courage

In honor of Sofia Vernacchia

Since our family was introduced to the TeamGFoundation, we knew that we were not alone in our fight against pediatric cancer that effected my 6 years old granddaughter.  Instantly, Kristin Cosner and other board members reached out to our family to share information about the journey we were about to travel.  Over the last two years my granddaughter, Sofia, and I have made over 300 yellow ribbons to distribute throughout our Los Gatos neighborhoods during the September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  It brings such hope that individuals are learning more about this disease and Team G Foundation as we watch the ribbons spring up on trees around our community. The result has been increased funding towards pediatric cancer research. As a grassroots group, Team G is to be congratulated that their efforts have reached other states that are also contributing to your mission.  We thank Team G for giving us a platform and a place to have a voice for a cure.

Signed, Mary Ann Carr (Granny MAC)

 

The CJ Berry Foundation

We are honored once again by the continuous support of Derek and Joanne Berry through the CJ Berry Foundation.  This year, the foundation granted us $10,000 to be donated to childhood cancer research in honor of Sofia Vernnachia.  Thrilled by the generous donation year after year, we are looking forward to applying this funding to another research project.  Stay tuned!

 

Eat. Drink. Be. 

The holidays are always a hectic time of year.  This year, with the inspiration of pediatric cancer advocate Michelle Riddle, an inspirational event was created.  Women attending the event took the morning to enjoy breakfast by Teen Kitchen Project, mimosas by Hair By Ange and Rustic Salon,  friendship, inspirational speakers, shopping and special gifts.  We were all ignited with the energy of the season.  Funds raised will provide support to UCSC Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative and Camp Heart & Hands, a program of Jacob’s Heart.

A special thanks to Michelle Riddle, Jennalee of Santa Cruz Skin Solutions, Olena Morozova for your incredible work on the UCSC Treehouse Childhod Cancer Initiative, Katrina Learned and Aimee Grijalva-Pierce for sharing your journeys and the lovely inspiring ladies that spoke that morning; Jesse Kennedy, Chinh Pham, Mandi Dana, Amber Campion, and Peggy Hellman.

Thank you to all of the individuals who sponsored the event and for those who took time out of their busy day to listen.

2016 Kids Cancer Summit

Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative: Inspiring Change through Genomic Research

On Wednesday our executive officer Kristin Cosner and Financial Officer Claudia Cisneros attended the 2016 Kids Cancer Summit – Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative: Inspiring Change through Genomic Research. Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative researchers gave an update on their progress and Unravel’s Libby Kranz spoke about her experiences as a mother of a child with cancer and the reasons she advocates for genomic research.

Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation is proud to be a supporter of the research that is happening at Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative and its going on right in our backyard!

For more info visit their page: https://treehouse.soe.ucsc.edu/

Pictured are Claudia Cisneros, Jimmy Panetta Monterey County District Attorney, David Hausser of UCSC Treehouse Project and Kristin Cosner

 

Miss Representation Film Event

In honor of Samantha Kay Smith

Many of you know that Samantha Smith, a Kindergartener this year at Vista Grande, was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. In support of her and her parents, Brittany and Zachary Smith, we’re hosting a movie night Wednesday May 25th. Proceeds from this evening support the Smith’s favorite charity- Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The end of May brought an amazing fundraiser the “Miss Representation Film Event” to Danville for Brittany Bogard Smith in honor of her daughter, Samantha who was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2016. $3554 was raised and GENEROUSLY donated to Team G!! We are so thankful to be benefiting from such a wonderful event. A special thank you to Brittany Bogard Smith, Lee Ann Coburn, Dani Glockner O’Connell, Melissa Smith, Shani Hall and Party In-kindness.

Tamales and Tequila

Teen Kitchen Project and Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation joined forces for a holiday festive tamale making class. Teen Kitchen invited participants to learn how to make traditional husk wrapped tamales in three flavors: chicken, vegetarian, and sweet. Many of the tamales were donated to families in crisis due to illness like cancer AND participants got to bring home a dozen tamales. While the tamales steamed, a tamale dinner along with tequila tasters donated by Venus Spirits was enjoyed.

Castillero Middle Fundraiser

In honor of Joe and Devyn

“This is Mrs. Dueck’s leadership class at Castillero Middle in San Jose. I met them last Thursday, the boys handing me the checks are Joe to my left and Devyn to my right. They are classmates and both have cancer. Joe has Leukemia and Devyn has bone cancer. In honor of their classmates and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this last September they held a one day lemonade stand fundraiser at school. Although they charged only $.50 for a glass and $.25 for Lemonheads, their schoolmates often paid more, up to $10 for a glass. They raised $367.36! While at the bank getting their change counted a man approached and asked what they were doing. When they told him it was for Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation, he said “I’ve got a big coin jar at home. I’ll get it and you can add it to your donation.” He did, and that check was in the amount of $291.35! I got to tell the class more about what Team G is doing and how their money is making a difference. They are such amazing and inspiring young leaders. It was such a joy to meet them!! ”

Thank you Mrs. Dueck’s class and thank you Joe and Devyn, and thank you Bill for sharing! We can make a difference in this fight!

4th Annual Spike Cancer for Tianna

“It’s not happy people who are thankful. It’s thankful people who are Happy”.  4th annual Spike Cancer for Tianna happened at the Holy Cross Catholic School gym. Attendants watched exciting volleyball matches. Proceeds from this event benefitted Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation! THANK YOU HOLY CROSS CATHOLIC SCHOOL!

Rally in the Redwoods

Jackie and Troy Strong, Kristopher Peterson, and Charlie Velez took on the challenge of the Rally in the Redwoods and along with our VP Bill Sylvester rode and raised over $3000 for Team G.  Bob Connolly who raised and donated a substantial portion of our total, was on his way to ride with us that day, but was turned around by a family emergency.  So five us rode the route, and some family and friends joined us after the ride to celebrate at West End Tap.  It was a great ride, a great party with friends and family!

5th Annual Bake Sale

While everyone knows that September means “Back to School”, what many people may not know is that September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness month. While many of us are running around getting the back to school essentials, there are too many moms spending their days in the hospital as their child gets chemotherapy and radiation. While many of us await the news of what teacher our child got, 7 parents today are getting the news that their child has cancer.

This year was the 5th annual Raising “DOUGH” for Pediatric Cancer Research, with a sprinkle of HOPE and a dash of LOVE!  Volunteers from Circle of Friends Preschool headed up the Scotts Valley location thanks to Scotts Valley Market under the lead of Stacey Botkin and our own Team G Board members headed up the Aptos locations to bring in over $7,000!  Thank you for everyone who came out to share some baked goods love!

Community Giveback Nights

This year, we were thrilled to have the support of so many local restaurants in the Santa Cruz County area!  And we loved that so many Team G supporters came out to show the love for the partnerships between us and these wonderful restaurants.  All these local businesses showed their support in the fight against childhood cancer!  From pizza, to pasta, to beer, to baskets; Team G proved strong in the community this past year and we are grateful.

 

Santa’s Coming to Town

What an incredibly special day for some of the families in our pediatric cancer lives! Two very special people, Mark and Kristen Collishaw known today as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus wanted to give some extra special cheer to families fighting childhood cancer.

In lieu of birthday gifts for Mark’s 50th, he asked for his friends to bring gifts to give to families battling illnesses. The children and parents were so grateful. After all the struggles these kids and families go through on a daily basis, they all deserve a lot of extra holiday cheer!!

The presence of Christmas is upon us this season and we are honored to be a part of it. Thank you so much Collishaw Family and thank you Jia Tella’s for welcoming us into your restaurant!

Teeny Tiny Moments Photography

These beautiful momma’s and their babies helped raise $800 for Team G with their photo sessions. Thank you Teeny Tiny Moments Photography for hosting this Mama & Me event to raise funds for pediatric cancer!

Chili Cook Off 2016 Women’s Council of Realtors

Thank you to the Women’s Council of Realtors for inviting Team G to be at the Chili Cook Off 2016 and for your donation to our foundation. To read more, CLICK HERE.

Jennifer Tutton Jewelry

During the month of November and December, 20% of proceeds were donated to Team G from the sale of delicate, sparkly, feminine initial necklace thanks to Jennifer Tutton! These gifts were perfect for the holiday season! For more information, CLICK HERE. 

Digging Deep Donation

Thank you Sheri Sobranto Brisson and the Digging Deep team for your generous donation of $3,500 for our Hope Tote Program!  Click HERE to read more about Sheri and her journey to create Digging Deep.

My Wish Series on ESPN

“‘My Wish Series’ on ESPN is celebrating its 10th anniversary. I was surprised when they contacted me as they wanted to include Tianna’s story. This was at the request of Chris Connelly who is the host of the show and we had the pleasure of meeting. Many of you may or not know that Tianna was granted her wish of meeting Kerri Walsh, all possible thanks to Make A Wish Foundation and ESPN. Her wish was not completed so the piece was not aired. I was hesitant to do the interview because I knew it would be difficult to relive moments and go back to that pain. All I can say is that this part of her story has come full circle and I am glad to have done it. 
It turned out to be great piece and I could not agree more my dear friend, ‘Such a well written and soulful piece that honors everyone in your family. Such a double edge sword, your proud memories layered over pain and loss’. Robin Cunningham

Thank you to all who contributed to this story and spoke so fondly of Tianna Valdez.”

Claudia Cisneros, Tianna’s mommy and Team G CFO

For the full story, CLICK HERE. 

Team G New Logo

A dandelion is symbolic of so many things. To some it’s a symbol of fighting through the challenges of life and emerging victorious on the other side. It’s symbolic of the warmth and power of the rising sun, long lasting happiness, youthful joy and of course wishes! This simple, yet delicate flower that some might see as a stubborn weed, holds so much meaning. It brings happiness and hope! Its seeds travel out into the world carrying all the many wishes in life. It brings us healing from emotional pain and injury. A dandelion is symbolic to Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation. It holds our hope, wishes and comfort in this journey.

Thank you so much Murmur Creative for our beautiful new logo. We are so proud to share it with the world! You captured our vision and hope for our new logo beautifully. You have been amazing to work with and your passion for our project; we can’t express enough how much it means. We’d especially like to thank Andrew Bolton and Zipporah Nicole Vannata for their immediate interest in wanting to help and their patience with us throughout this whole process. It’s been a long process and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation is proud to share with all of you our new logo. We hope that you love it as much as we do!