Tricounty News

Isaac’s Foundation support for childhood cancer

Childhood Cancer to date remains the #1 disease killer of America’s children and yet remains underfunded. Every donation truly does make a difference in the life of a child that has been affected by childhood cancer.

At the end of each year, we gather our team together to give a gift of monetary support to the U of M. ALL of our funds raised are committed to the advancement and cure of childhood cancer research.

Since Isaac’s Foundation began in January of 2008, more than $145,000 has been donated to the University of Minnesota. Isaac’s Foundation has reached a level of support with the U of M where our research dollars have been distributed upon much needed programs overseen by our Medical Advisory Committee, Pediatric Hematologist Oncologist Drs. Joseph Neglia and Brenda Weigel.

While some of our funds are immediately dispersed for current and on-going research, a portion of our funds is contributed to Isaac’s HOPE Fund for Curing Childhood Cancer, an Endowment Chair. It is our goal and hope of establishing an endowment chair to ensure that researchers have continued funding to keep studies going and keep disseminating what they’re learning-far beyond the University. It is important to us that we not only support the Research of today, but insure that we have funds to support those advancements for tomorrow, giving every child the bright future they deserve.

In 2012 the research priorities that Isaac’s Foundation has contributed to the University of Minnesota Amplatz has helped fund:

• Developing new therapies for patients with brain tumors, optimizing the development of tumor targeting vaccines and expanding clinical trials to test in pediatric patients with brain tumors.

• Developing and expanding the pediatric leukemia program to develop new drug and drug combinations for patients with difficult to treat leukemias.

• Expanding new therapies for Neuroblastoma with the opening of MIBG therapy and other targeted agents.

• Studies to enhance the quality of life of survivors of childhood cancer.

Running a non-profit Foundation is exhausting. It takes a lot of time and effort from an entire team of dedicated individuals. I have thought to myself often, especially with the still yet raw emotions of losing my own son Isaac nearly six years ago that I just want to quit. Not because I’m lazy, but because it’s too hard emotionally as we all put everything we have into it. When Isaac was diagnosed that same year Jocelyn Dickhoff of Belgrade was diagnosed as well. Through our children’s journey Jocelyn’s mom, Kayla and I became close. We have a bond only mothers with children having cancer can understand. Sadly Isaac didn’t survive his battle with cancer and passed in January of 2008. Jocelyn earned her status of NED (No Evidence of Disease), but relapsed again in April of 2010. Jocelyn’s family was given the not so good news that she had run out of options if her treatment didn’t work and had less then a 5-percent chance of surviving long term. However, Jocelyn once again beat her cancer and again gained NED status. Two years ago, she had exhausted all options known to treat her type of cancer, but with her recent relapse in October (3rd relapse) because of the advancements we’ve made in research, she now has 3 more options to try. Tears of sadness engulfed me over the phone call that Jocelyn relapsed, but I had even more tears fall when I realized that she had options where 2 years ago she didn’t. It made me realize that in my long days of my own grief that we can’t quit because Isaac’s Foundation really does make a difference.

Joceyln was unable to take part in this year’s picture because of scheduled chemo treatments. Even though she has options, she is still given a less then 5-percent chance of long term survival because of her multiple relapses, but as a parent who knows the loss of a child, I’d give anything for just one more day with my child and that is worth it. Who knows, because of the efforts Isaac’s Foundation makes, maybe the next time she’ll have a cure!

Our 6th Annual Chili Feed will be held in Sauk Centre at Gerard’s Saturday, March 23,  where we will continue to raise money to support Childhood Cancer Research, all are welcome! For more details visit

Our ultimate goal is a big one: We want to be able to Cure Childhood Cancer, and with the support of our community, we are one day closer to making that happen.

 Isaac’s Foundation Team participants are, left to right in front row: Jayden Lieser, Dominic Lieser, Childhood Cancer survivor of Neuroblastoma Gavin Klocker (Eden Valley/Watkins), Chelsy Hendershot, Childhood Cancer Surivivor of Ewing’s Sarcoma Ryan Prow (Sauk Rapids). In middle row are Tracy Scherping, Sandy Niehoff, Presdient Chrystal Sand, Founder/Executive Director Linda Nathe-Lieser, Josh Lieser, Secretary Mary Hemmesch, Treasurer Jessica Wenker. In back row are Deb Essler, Amanda Goerdt & Joni Prow. Not present are vice-president Kim Buntjer along with many, many other volunteers. Submitted photo.