The story that sparked the Rutledge Foundation in 2011 was one that is sadly like thousands and thousands of families across the US and abroad every year. “Your 15-year-old daughter has cancer, and we are sorry, but the treatment hasn’t changed in over 30 years.” After completing a year of frontline treatment, we could not just sit by and wait until her cancer returned, so we had a Kickball Tournament that raised over $35,000. With those funds, we helped open a Teen/Young Adult room in our local hospital and the rest of it went to fund sarcoma research. Thus, began our mission to fund cutting edge sarcoma research and programs and services for all young adult cancer patients and their families.
We are in our 7th year of operation and the change in landscape is nothing short of a miracle. We have funded over a million dollars toward immune-based, targeted sarcoma research and programs, activities and resources like fertility preservation for newly diagnosed young adult (aged 15-39) cancer patients. Carley did relapse in 2012 shortly before graduating from high school, but she was the first patient to enroll in a Vaccine Trial for Ewing sarcoma and she and thanks be to God, is healthy, and in graduate school. I have profound gratitude to our loyal supporters, sponsors, volunteers, medical centers, health providers and researchers for helping us achieve these remarkable milestones. But our work is far from over and we won’t stop until we reach the finish line which is a cure for pediatric sarcomas and other young adult cancers.
We feel like the time for breakthroughs is upon us. Breakthroughs in new therapies, cure rates and improved quality of life for these long suffering and most deserving young adult cancer patients. It is devastating when we hear of yet another patient who has lost their battle. We want change and believe it can happen, and will do our part to make it a reality.
For those faithful supporters, I want to thank you for helping achieve great things with more to come. If you are just learning about us, we hope you have been impacted and will join us and others as we raise the rate for young adult cancer survival.