Sandy Springs parents create organization to raise money for children's brain tumor research

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Intermediate

Words and phrases

tumor
/
ˈtuː.mɚ
/
a ball of cells growing inside the body, like a cancer, that can be deadly depending on its size and location
nonprofit
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ˈnɑːnˈprɑːfət
/
an organization, like a charity, that spends all of its profit on projects that help others
diagnose
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ˈdajəgˌnoʊs
/
to find and identify a medical problem in someone
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Cheryl and Phil Yagoda of Sandy Springs created Ian’s Friends Foundation, a [.fow1-2]nonprofit[.fow1-2] organization that raises money for children's brain [.fow1-1]tumor[.fow1-1] research, after their son was [.fow1-3]diagnosed[.fow1-3] with a brain [.fow1-1]tumor[.fow1-1].

Ian was just two years old when Cheryl noticed something was wrong. Their twins were born first and a little early and at first, didn’t develop like healthy children should.

“They’re perfectly normal girls, but I was never worried about them,” she said. “But with Ian something just felt wrong.”

Initial medical exams and tests didn’t show any problems. When an MRI was performed, a special medical test that takes pictures of the inside of the body, the parents heard words Phil said no parent ever wants to hear: “We think we found something.”

A brain [.fow1-1]tumor[.fow1-1] was what the MRI found back in 2006. And that started their search for some way to treat their son. They started with the City of Hope in Los Angeles, the University of Chicago, Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., Johns Hopkins, NYU Cornell, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Toronto Sick Kids and Boston Children’s Hospital.

They learned that this was the most common cancer cause of death for children under 20.

“But there’s so little public money that is given towards it just makes no sense,” Phil said.

When they asked doctors where research stood, the Yagodas were told “nowhere.”

tumor
/
ˈtuː.mɚ
/
a ball of cells growing inside the body, like a cancer, that can be deadly depending on its size and location
nonprofit
/
ˈnɑːnˈprɑːfət
/
an organization, like a charity, that spends all of its profit on projects that help others
diagnose
/
ˈdajəgˌnoʊs
/
to find and identify a medical problem in someone
/
/
/
/
fund
/
ˈfʌnd
/
when an organization or government gives money to another organization or project
/
/
/
/
/
/
/
/

“So we started IFF, or Ian’s Friends Foundation with the [main] purpose of [.fow2-1]funding[.fow2-1] research for children [.fow1-3]diagnosed[.fow1-3] with brain [.fow1-1]tumors[.fow1-1],” Phil said.

Since they began their efforts to [.fow2-1]fund[.fow2-1] children's cancer research, Ian has started his first year of college. In the years between finding the [.fow1-1]tumor[.fow1-1] and today, Phil guesses Ian’s Friends Foundation has helped raise $30 million for research.

The projects the organization helps [.fow2-1]fund[.fow2-1] have realized a 40 percent success rate in getting recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for grants that support health research.

One project the foundation supported at Duke University received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) breakthrough status, which means it is very likely to be successful.

Research has led to children being [.fow1-3]diagnosed[.fow1-3] much earlier, Cheryl said.

“I’ve got to tell you the truest heroes are the people who lost their battles but are so [helpful] at the foundation to make sure it doesn’t happen to other people as well as those that have actually done well and want to make sure it still doesn’t happen to people,” Phil said.

fund
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ˈfʌnd
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when an organization or government gives money to another organization or project
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