Envision a world where a diagnosis of pediatric cancer is met with the same reaction as a diagnosis of the common cold. In this idyllic world, the word “cancer” no longer carries with it the same traumatic response or stigma that it does today.
This hopeful vision is what drives Craig Breslow in his work as Executive Director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable organization that heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer research. His wife Kelly Breslow is the Foundation’s Director of Business Operations and Development.
Mr. Breslow, a Major League pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, knows all too well how scary and traumatic a cancer diagnosis can be for a family, especially when it affects a child. His sister Lesley was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 13 and he was only 11. She is now fully recovered and lives an unrestricted life as a cancer survivor, but “obviously, the impact that has on a child is lasting,” Mr. Breslow said.
The Strike 3 Foundation was born out of a conversation that took place on the couch at his parents’ house in 2008. Recalling this moment, Mr. Breslow said, “I wanted to do something concrete to give back to the community. I had the support of family and friends, and within a couple of months the organization was up and running, and we were planning our first fundraiser.”
Supporting Young Cancer Researchers
Since 2011, the Strike 3 Foundation has generously supported five pediatric cancer researchers through the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award program (see sidebar on page 105 for full listing) and will be supporting two additional promising young investigators in 2014.
According to Mr. Breslow, “We support the Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award program because a number of accomplished research scientists directed us to the Foundation as a prestigious organization with a reputation for receiving the best, most insightful, and hopefully most fruitful applicants. We felt like it made sense to align ourselves with an organization when we didn’t quite have the infrastructure to evaluate grant applications with the same rigor as the Conquer Cancer Foundation does.”
From Baseball to the Nonprofit Sector
Over the years, Mr. Breslow has “learned a lot” about the nonprofit sector and the field of philanthropy. “Managing an organization is a full-time job, one in which the commitment cannot be taken lightly. But I also think it is incredibly gratifying and not something I’d ever trade.”
“Work can be as gratifying as any successful athletic achievement. There are a number of athletes and celebrities who lend their names to causes, but I would argue that being invested in the day-to-day operations makes the reward and success far more significant,” he said.
A Yale University graduate with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, Mr. Breslow was on a path to becoming a physician until his career took another turn. Although it has been some time since he has been in the classroom, Mr. Breslow enjoys learning about the cancer research projects that the Conquer Cancer Foundation and Strike 3 Foundation–supported investigators are working on and believes that reading about their progress is a way for him to stay involved.
The Conquer Cancer Foundation is thankful for the generous support of the Strike 3 Foundation and is honored to be working with Mr. Breslow and his organization to eradicate childhood cancers.
Learn more about the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award program at www.conquercancerfoundation.org/YIA. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, visit www.strike3foundation.org. ■
© 2014. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.
Sarah K. Tasian, MD (2011 Young Investigator Award)
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Predicting Biochemical and Genetic Responses to JAK Inhibitor Therapy in Patients With CRLF2-Overexpressing Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Kasey Leger, MD (2012 Young Investigator Award)
University of ...