Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gladys to battle pediatric cancer

Some of you may remember Gladys, the mannequin I acquired a couple of years ago in order to create the chair shown in this picture. I am happy to report that, after two years standing guard over the corner of our living room, Gladys has found a new home modeling for the Bainbridge Bargain Boutique, a Seattle Children's Hospital thrift store here on the island.

I'm hoping the chair -- currently on display at the store -- will soon find a new home as well: this week Seattle Children's Hospital is auctioning her off to raise money for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.

I'm writing about this here because the reason I started this blog  -- back in September of 2007 -- was because a close friend's 12-year-old daughter had just died after a long bout with cancer; all the posts here are dedicated to Katie's memory.

The good news is that there is a man -- Dr. Michael Jensen -- who has been brought to Seattle by the Ben Towne Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation to pursue some VERY promising research on pediatric cancer, which is the #1 killer disease among children under 18.  We all know how overwhelming the side-effects of chemo and radiation are for adults, but for children those side-effects can be devastating and permanent even if the cancer is cured.

Dr. Jensen has developed a method of reprogramming the body’s own immune system, genetically re-engineering an individual’s T cells to destroy cancer.  This new technique, which has proven to be safe and effective in the laboratory, promises a future of immunotherapy cancer cures without the devastating side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Dr. Jensen is now working to translate this breakthrough to children with cancer. I got very excited about this possibility, which is why I decided to auction off the chair: all the money from the auction will go to support Dr. Jensen's research.

So -- if you know someone who would love a one-of-a-kind deck chair, has money to spend, and cares about pediatric cancer, I hope you'll send them the link -- and soon; the auction will close next Tuesday morning, September 20.  I promise this is the last I'll speak of it here, and I apologize for the sales pitch, but sometimes the hope for a brighter future gets so intense you just have to speak up.  Back to business as usual tomorrow...

And now I'll let Dr. Jensen speak for himself:

5 comments:

karen gerstenberger said...

What a fabulous idea, Diane - thank you for your generosity, for raising awareness and funds, and for dedicating this space to Katie!

Dr. Jensen is a wonderful, passionate, gentle man with a vision of the future which we would love to see become a reality in the present. You explained his work so well here, and the video is a stunner. I hope you will have a chance to meet him, if you haven't already.

The Towne Foundation Event is on September 23rd this year. Apparently, registration is full, but they are taking a waiting list. If people want to know more, they can go to http://bentownefoundation.org . The Townes are a wonderful couple who are turning their grief into work for a cure. Gregg and I are grateful to appear in the video they will show this year, with three other couples, talking about what it's like for us. As Carin says, it a way of working for redemption of a horrific reality...a way to change the outcomes for other families.
Sending much love to you.

Robin Livingston said...

I'm filled with love, gratitude, and respect for the work that helps us hold sacred presence with this moment as it is, and for work that moves us into a brighter future. What a beautiful confluence of gifts. Celebrating Katie today, and her gift to the world, the light of her life.

Maureen said...

Wonderful contribution to the auction!

Bev Gaines said...

Thank you Diane for your generous donation and for the truth you offer here in your blog! We want to get excited and support this!

Joyce Wycoff said...

Beautiful post ... beautiful chair May if find exactly the right home.