Meet the Children: Luke Crecelius

Michelle and her family were shocked when they found out their 2-year-old son, Luke, had cancer. They received the official diagnosis on August 5, 2013. Their active and loving son had AML.

Luke began treatment immediately at Children’s Hospital of Orange County and received 84 doses of chemotherapy during his 114 days at the hospital. Because of his type of cancer, Luke had to stay in the hospital for each round. Every time, his family would anxiously wait for his white blood cell count to come back up so that they could go home. Despite the extended stays, Luke always remained upbeat.

During treatment, Luke received a superhero cape, and would proudly wear it around the hospital so that everyone knew that his superpower was beating cancer.

Michelle always knew that Luke was a fighter, and his battle with cancer showed just how strong he was. Luke completed his 4th and final round of chemotherapy on December 18, 2013 and was declared cancer free!

Throughout treatment, family friends told Michelle how they wanted to raise funds for children like Luke. Michelle had heard about CureSearch and about the research that was being funded, so she knew that was the organization she wanted to be involved with.

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Childhood Cancer Survivor Enters the MMA Arena

Matt BessetteMatt Bessette doesn’t remember most of his cancer treatment. He does remember feeling like a human pin cushion, and that his mother always tried to remain positive and let him be a kid. Matt was just 3 when he was diagnosed with leukemiaand spent more a year at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center receiving treatment. After 5 years cancer free, when he was 12, doctors declared him cured!

9 years later, Matt was a healthy young man who while hanging out with friends, found mixed martial arts (MMA) videos and started watching them. Soon, he and his friends were spending hours performing what they saw. They didn’t really know what they were doing, but they were having a great time, so they decided to find a gym and begin training. Matt’s first professional fight was in September 2007, and he’s been hooked ever since. When it came time for Matt to tell his parents about his new hobby, they weren’t surprised – they always knew that their son was a fighter.

Training and competing in MMA fights takes hard work and dedication, something that Matt learned while undergoing cancer treatment. “Whenever people tell me that I can’t do something, I try to remember that it’s not the worst I’ve been through.” That attitude has helped Matt be successful in the MMA arena.

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High School Senior Leads Fundraising Effort

Chelsey ZaneChelsey has always believed in giving back to the community. A senior at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, MD, she has always been encouraged to find a cause that she was passionate about and try to make a difference. While volunteering, Chelsey met a young girl battlingrhabdomyosarcoma and they became fast friends. She saw how strong her friend was throughout treatment, organizing toy drives and other fundraising events for those less fortunate, all while undergoing cancer treatment. Chelsey knew she too could find a way to help children and adolescents with cancer.

She asked some of her friends to join her and together, they started a toy drive for residents of The Children’s Inn at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The success of that toy drive sparked Chelsey to form a club at school dedicated to giving back to the community.

Her club joined the 2013 Washington, DC CureSearch Walk and raised more than $200 for children’s cancer research. “We were all so moved by CureSearch’s mission and the research that they are funding,” says Chelsey. “We wanted to make a difference for all the children battling cancer.” This year, the club decided to organize another fundraiser and partnered with the local California Pizza Kitchen for a week dedicated to raising funds for CureSearch. They raised more than $600 in just one week!

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Congratulations to CureSearch Young Investigator Dr.Yustein

Yustein-Grant-HomeNew Ewing Sarcoma Research Center at Texas Children’s Hospital Made Possible by Virani Family

This article features CureSearch Young Investigator Jason Yustein, MD, PhD. To learn more about his research click here.

(Bio News Texas) -The Texas Children’s Cancer Center has opened a new space to develop more effective diagnostics and therapeutic approaches for Ewing Sarcoma in chldren. The goal of the new Faris D. Virani Ewing Sarcoma Center is to help find the cure to the rare childhood disease, in which cancer cells are found in bones or soft issues.

Made possible by a $2 million gift from the Virani family, the center will be directed by Dr. Jason Yustein, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and will honor Asha and Farid Virani’s son Faris. During the event that has celebrated the Virani family’s gift, Faris, who has been fighting Ewing sarcoma, presented Yustein with a piggy bank containing $1,000.

Over the past 30 to 40 years, only marginal advancements have been made in the care and management of patients with Ewing sarcoma due to the lack of understanding of its biology. “There has been a lack of new chemotherapeutic agents introduced for patients with this disease and current treatments are extremely intensive and often have both short- and long-term side effects that can negatively impact lifestyle and quality of life for these patients,” said Yustein

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Camp Quality Partners with CureSearch!

Camp Quality Kids

CureSearch is proud to announce a partnership with Camp Quality USA, an organization dedicated to providing camping experiences for children with cancer during the 2014 CureSearch Walk season. This year, Camp Quality will be at 12 CureSearch Walks across the country participating with Camp Quality Walk teams, arts & crafts tables and teen tents.

Camp Quality USA in Illinois began their involvement with CureSearch at the Chicago CureSearch Walk four years ago. The organization was looking for another way to get involved in children’s cancer awareness and research. When they found the Chicago CureSearch Walk, it sounded like a perfect match. They have had a team at the Walk every year since, and love seeing some of the campers at the Walk.


Camp Quality is an important organization to Chicago CureSearch Walk committee member, Rick. When his son, Kyle, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 10 years old, his parents were worried that he would miss out on many childhood experiences. Then Rick found out about Camp Quality and he knew that he had found the perfect place for Kyle.

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Eighth-Grader Heads Up Cancer Research Fundraiser

(The Daily Reporter) – March 7, 2014: Emily Blair doesn’t remember her battle with cancer — all she knows is that she won.Emily Blair

Emily, 13, was diagnosed right before her second birthday with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer made up of cells that would under normal circumstances develop into skeletal muscles.

Emily underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy — and has now been cancer-free for 11 years.

Every year since Emily’s diagnosis, she and her family have participated in fund-raising events for childhood cancer research. The one in which they have been the most active is theCureSearch Walk for Childhood Cancer.

Emily BlairCureSearch is a national not-for-profit foundation. Through CureSearch new childhood cancer treatment technologies are developed, children are matched with clinical trials and parents are provided with resources germane to their child’s illness, treatment and hopefully their cures.

This year, Emily and her mother decided they wanted to raise even more money for CureSearch. To accomplish that Emily, with the help of her mother, organized a pajama day at Legg Middle School, where Emily is an eighth-grader.

Today, for a $1 donation Emily’s classmates were permitted to wear pajamas to school. All the proceeds raised will be donated to CureSearch.

“Everybody has been so great and so supportive,” Emily said. “People who aren’t even going to be in school on the pajama day have donated money anyway … it’s awesome.”

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New Promising Information to Treat, Cure Childhood Leukemias

leukemia (Science World Report) – Researchers from the UT Health Center may have pinpointed a protein that could potentially play a key role in the development of pediatric AML-promising new information to treat and cure possible childhood leukemias.

Background information from the study notes that AML begins when maturing cells start to grow into different kinds of blood cells. For this, the cancerous cells grow and proliferate in an abnormal way as they fail to develop into normally functioning white blood cells. The high levels of a protein known as WTAP can contribute to abnormal cell behavior, which could harm the effectiveness of treatments for this type of leukemia.

For Sanja Bansal, Ph.D., and researchers at Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, they worked to “knock down” leukemia cells via a technique known as WTAP expression in AML cells. The results yielded successful findings, according to background information from the study.

“Knocking down this protein, WTAP, greatly suppressed proliferation and induced differentiation,” said Hima Bansal, Ph.D., senior research associate at the Health Science Center and lead author of the paper, via a press release. “It took care of both problems.”

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