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Funding makes all the difference in cancer research

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 10,000 children younger than 15 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year.

Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health is one of the top hospitals in the country in treating pediatric cancer. Each year, Riley treats an average of 200 children with childhood cancer and provides care for about 350 ongoing cancer patients.

News 8’s Cody Adams knows well the role that Riley and its staff play in caring for children with cancer because his oldest daughter, Madi, was diagnosed with cancer shortly after birth.

All this week, you’ll get the “INside Story” about what children go through as they fight for their lives, how the illness and its treatment impacts their families, and how Riley makes a difference in the battle against childhood cancer.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

(Provided Photo/Tracie Hobson)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Finding a cure for cancer is the ultimate goal. You could argue it doesn’t really matter how we get there, but for Dr. Jodi Skiles at Riley Hospital for Children, that’s not 100 percent the case.

“We’ve got to move the needle on the four percent right?” Skiles said. “Four percent of all cancer funding goes to pediatric cancers, and some people would argue, that’s because there are so many more patients with cancer in the adult setting so it’s an appropriate allocation of resources focused on adults, but I would argue as a pediatric oncologist that our kids have the most to gain, you talk to any family who has had a child with cancer and they have the most to lose.”

Childhood cancer research is severely underfunded. That’s why organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are pledging to make a difference. Tatijana Warwold works for LLS, she says they recognized that discrepancy, and knew they had to make a push for change.

Madi Adams receiving treatment at Riley Hospital for Children. (Provided Photo/Adams family)

“One of our newest initiatives is our children’s initiative, it is a $100 million multi-year endeavor for childhood blood cancer specifically,” said Tatijana Narwold with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “The reason we think this is so important is, in the last 40 years, only four oncology drugs have been created for first use in our tiny humans.”

The money doesn’t just go to research. It will also help families all over the country who are living through an unimaginable situation.

“First and foremost, it’s to help as many people as possible across the nation,” said Narwold. “Cancer does not discriminate, so there are no borderlines, as far as what we’re fundraising for in Indiana is helping individuals everywhere.”

Initiatives like that make a big difference according to Skiles.

“Really and truly every dollar counts and really goes toward cure,” Skiles said. “Depending on where those dollars are funneled, it may not be cancer research, but research in general is always going to move scientifically the field forward.”

She says a nickel in the bucket may not seem like it makes a huge difference, but anything toward healing children is money well spent.

“What does 4% mean to a family with a child with cancer?” Skiles said. “It means that there may not be a cure for their kid. I think if you think about it like that, we’ve got to do better.”

Part 5