Morgantown, W.Va. (WBOY) — Childhood cancer success rates have increased to about 70% over the past 60 years, but that’s not enough.
On Friday, Dr. Patrick Tombok of WVU Children’s Hospital stepped in to fund further research and show support for patients by shaving their heads for the #LincolnStrong campaign through the St. Baldrick Foundation.
12 News spoke with Dr. Tomboc, director of the Pediatric Hematology and Cancer Center at WVU Medicine, about why fundraising events like this are so important to the cause.
“Without research, there’s no new treatments. You can’t move the ball forward. Right now I’m on all these awful drugs with amazing success rates, but without research , we can’t find new ways that don’t hurt children.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to researching childhood cancer and funding such events. Dr. Tombok was a little nervous because she feared her patients would shave their eyebrows, but it was her second time participating in a head shave fundraiser, so she was able to contribute to such a great foundation. I was very happy to hear that.
“I have pretty short hair to begin with, so this isn’t a huge leap for me, but I think it’s a sense of togetherness, of normalcy, and of, ‘I’m with them.’ We are 100 percent together.
Three patients participated in shaving with the help of their mothers, with very good results for Dr. Tomboc. Her 5-year-old Lincoln Flix of Salem, West Virginia, was one of her patients who participated as a face in the #LincolnStrong campaign.
Lincoln was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney cancer, with 26 masses spreading to his lungs. His parents already knew a lot about St. Bardric’s disease. Benjamin and Amanda Flix were actually donating after their family introduced them to the foundation and before Lincoln’s diagnosis.
“The money they raise goes specifically into childhood cancer research and a little extra resource. For example, when they handed us the book they gave us, they said: I asked the same question probably at least eight or nine times, and many of those questions were answered in the book as well,” Benjamin said.
Amanda also talks about the difficulties she faced on Lincoln’s journey: ”
After lengthy chemotherapy and surgery to remove one of his kidneys, Lincoln’s mother said he is much better now, although “he still has a long way to go.” We want to ensure Lincoln is still fighting hard and hold a local shave head fundraising event sometime next year.
You can use the link provided to donate to #LincolnStrong and help the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fund more research into cures for childhood cancer.