University of Missouri medical students have led their community in raising more than $55,000 for the largest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer research – the St. Baldrick's Foundation. More than 75 MU students, faculty and staff members, and community supporters shaved their heads for the cause at an event held Saturday, April 14, 2012, in Columbia. Proceeds from the second annual Mizzou Med Conquer Kids' Cancer! event have made it the second largest fundraiser among the 20 St. Baldrick's events held in Missouri in 2012.
"Childhood cancer kills more children than any other disease, yet the research of it is severely underfunded," said Timothy Fete, MD, chair of the Department of Child Health and medical director at MU Children's Hospital. "I'm proud that our medical students recognized that need and decided they could do something to help."
In two years, the Mizzou Med group has raised more than $90,000 for St. Baldrick's in Columbia. Organized by MU medical students, the event was sponsored by the MU School of Medicine and MU Children's Hospital, along with the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Each year, St. Baldrick's raises funds by hosting events throughout the world where volunteers shave their heads in solidarity with children who typically lose their hair during treatment for cancer. The St. Baldrick's Foundation funds more childhood cancer research grants than any other organization except for the U.S. government.
Events like the one on April 14 have raised approximately $138 million. The funding provides grants to physicians and scientists at more than 200 institutions who are pursuing the most promising cures for childhood cancer and making clinical trials more available to children. In 2011, the pediatric hematology and oncology division at MU benefited from those grant funds.
Worldwide, more than 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States.
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