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Promise and Progress - Optimists Provide Landmark Gift to Children's Cancer Research

Faces of Childhood Cancer

Optimists Provide Landmark Gift to Children's Cancer Research

Date: June 1, 2004

Pediatric oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center received a major boost to its arsenal in the fight against children’s cancers with a $920,000 commitment from Optimist International to establish an endowed research fellowship in pediatric oncology and hematology. The funding agreement is the largest ever by the youth-focused community service organization.

“This gift from the Optimist International Foundation will provide vital support, helping us to expand upon breakthroughs in the treatment of childhood cancers by rapidly moving research findings from the laboratory to the bedside,” says Robert J. Arceci, director of pediatric oncology. “Equally important, it gives us the opportunity to train outstanding new physicians who will care for our most precious resource—our children.”

 “Optimist International has been a long-time friend of pediatric oncology,” says assistant director of development Betsy Merrill.  “From financing housing for patients and families traveling to the Center for treatment to providing free passes to area attractions for our families, all we have to do is tell them what we need, and it’s done,” says Merrill.  

“It is through the hard work of our volunteers, the support of the Maryland-South Delaware District Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign and the community at large that we have been able to fund such critical research efforts at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center,” says Dwaine Sievers, president of Optimist International. “We are proud to be part of this program at one of the leading pediatric oncology research institutions in the United States.”