Tony and I went to Seattle to present the check to Dr Olsen and his team at Fred Hutch. We got a chance to sit down with part of the team and share a little about us and Unravel.
I was so proud to present this check on behalf of 350 families that took a stand.. raised awareness and an incredible amount of money.
The gratitude that each of the scientists expressed was impressive. This is not just a job.. this is obviously a mission for them. One of the researchers volunteered for 6 months until the money was raised to actually give him a paycheck. He believes in this lab that much.
We came with a check to cover the cost of nearly a full year of a set of hands in the lab.. but we happened to come at the perfect time. A triple match was being offered for just a few days. So instead of $70,000 we were able to help make a $210, 000 donation happen!
At the time we were there Dr Olsen announced that he had narrowed down hiring to 2 post doc candidates.. but as of that morning and knowing what we were presenting on behalf of Unravel, he had officially offered both a job! How incredible is that!
We did that! Together one house at a time. WE did that!
They explained to us what is coming up .. big things.. big great things. It is all innovative ideas. . And part of what we at Unravel are doing is allowing them the berth to try .. and learn.. and then save our kids. I wrote to Dr. Olsen to help me explain better what the gift from all the people who were part of our fluttering will do .. Here is what he wrote.
“The Project Violet scientists make “Optide” (optimized peptide) drug candidates using the DNA code for drugs made by plants and animals as blueprints.
For a moment, think of Optide drug candidates as “keys” that could “fit” the targets that are most important for kids with brain tumors. The Project Violet scientists can currently make thousands of keys at once – but they are all in the same batch – imagine how long it would take to find the “right” key if you had 10,000 keys in the same bag. The team wants to make 1000 smaller bags of keys, each of which has about 10 candidates in it. With available technology, they could tell in one day which of the “bags” holds a key that “fits” the target – then quickly sort out which “keys” (or optide drug candidates in this case) fit the target.
The cost of making 1000 batches of optides is very high – so the team needs to make 50 or 100 small batches to show partners that we can do it – in a reasonable time frame for reasonable cost. The Unravel Pediatric Cancer gift allows us to hire experienced scientists to begin making progress on the new collections of drug candidates that will best help us find the “key” that “fits” the most important pediatric brain tumor targets that we have identified.”
Thank you. For believing in what we want to do in order to Unravel pediatric cancer.. To try to attack this thing just a little bit differently.. No grants or rules from us for the researchers. And starting at the very beginning of the puzzle. We are funding the science.. the research.. the innovation that can and will lead to better options for our sick kids.. and then the eventual cure.
I do it in her name. Jennifer. And the name of my, as of right now, healthy children. Jonathan, Nicholas and Charlotte.
Who are you doing it for?
…until there is a cure…