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Doctor says money raised in Kansas City is a game-changer for childhood cancer research

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Callyn Stanley is a 5-year-old who loves to do somersaults in her living room and play with her sister, and she has never let Retinoblastoma slow her down.

“Some days are easier than others. it`s a roller coaster for sure,” said Kim Stanley, Callyn’s Mom.

Kim says her daughter was first diagnosed in 2014, she spent two years in remission, and last May, Callyn`s cancer came back.

Callyn went through treatment again, and is again in remission, but Callyn and her family had to go all the way to Philadelphia for treatment.

“Therapies have pretty much been the same for years and years,” said Stanley. “We allowed her to be in research for the therapies she was receiving that we were told were going to save her life. On one hand they`re saying this is going to save her life, on the other hand there were a lot of risks.”

So Callyn`s family got involved with Braden`s Hope, an organization started in Kansas City by Deliece Hoefen after her son Braden was diagnosed with cancer. Braden’s Hope just made a pledge to raise $3 million for researchers here in Kansas City to work on real potential cures for pediatric cancer.

Tom Curran, from the Children`s Research Institute at Children's Mercy is helping the process of choosing the researchers who get the grants from Braden`s Hope.

“We want to support projects that have really strong science that are ready to make the transition to the clinic. That`s the hardest part of what we call translational cancer research. Translational cancer research translates scientific knowledge into medical advances,” said Dr. Curran.

The first $1 million was just awarded to a team of researchers in Kansas City. Curran says this is important because childhood cancer researchers don`t get a lot of the grant money that`s available.

“When a grant is being looked at by NIH- the major funder of cancer research in the United States- and that grant is dealing with several hundred children and it`s being reviewed at the same time as the grant that`s dealing with several hundred thousand old men. The several hundred thousand old men tend to get the advantage because of the numbers involved,” Dr. Curran said.

Dr. Curran says the money raised right here in Kansas City will change the game for childhood cancer research.

To find out more about Braden’s Hope, click here.