Dani was 18 years old when she found a lump on her side. After six months of physician visits, she was finally diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that typically affects children and young adults.
By the time of Dani’s diagnosis, the cancer had spread to her lungs. Although she showed no outward symptoms other than the lump on her side, Dani was in critical condition at the time of her diagnosis. She was hospitalized immediately and began an aggressive schedule of treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries and a bone marrow transplant.
Dani was cancer-free for four months when doctors discovered the disease had returned, this time in her brain. Despite more treatments, Dani remained positive and was determined to beat her disease. Dani approached her cancer with the philosophy of “I am living with cancer, not dying from it.” Dani demonstrated courage and the will to live by graduating from Denver’s South High School and enrolling in college courses.
Dani did not fulfill her dream to become a fashion designer. In April 1999, Dani lost her battle with cancer. She was 19 years young.
Since its inception, Dani’s Foundation has supported programs and research throughout the nation. Most notably, the Foundation has lent financial support to the research efforts of Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University. The Foundation has provided pilot funding to initiate his specific research and annually grants funds with the goal of extending his research into finding a viable treatment of those diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Thanks to Dani’s Foundation funding, Dr. Toretsky’s Lab has been successful in discovering a key combination of two proteins in Ewing’s Sarcoma. By preventing these two proteins from interacting, the scientists believe the effect could be similar to removing the spark plug wires from the spark plugs in a car. Without spark plugs, a car cannot run. Similarly, without this protein interaction, Ewing’s Sarcoma cells cannot survive.
Since its inception in 1999, Dani’s Foundation has been dedicated to advancing a global initiative that will be aimed at funding research to find the cause and the cure for Ewing’s Sarcoma and the other forms of pediatric sarcomas that are affecting children and young adults; has worked to fund studies that will target improved treatment protocols for all pediatric cancer patients; has worked to implement a pediatric sarcoma community education programs that works to inform the public on the varieties and symptoms of sarcomas; and continues to provide valuable resource information and support to pediatric sarcoma patients.
By working together, we can make a difference in the Campaign to End Pediatric Sarcoma. We are hopeful that you will join with us and help to make tomorrow a brighter day for our children!