October 5th 2013, Olympians and swimming enthusiasts will take part in Swim Across America’s (SAA) eighth annual San Francisco Bay Area Open Water Swim. The 1.5-mile swim from the Golden Gate Bridge to Crissy Field raises money for pediatric cancer programs at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland through pledges and online donations. Although the event attracts some highly skilled athletes, it is not a race. Cancer survivors, physicians, researchers, and medical professionals swim as well. Each swimmer pledges to raise a minimum of $1,000, and prizes are awarded to the top fundraisers.
For the past five years, Swim Across America has rallied our community to raise much needed funds to support the careers of young researchers at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in their investigation in the fight against pediatric cancer. In March, Swim Across America visited CHORI to celebrate their 2012 success with a presentation of a $132,000 check to support cancer research for children.
The money raised by SAA was awarded to CHORI Senior Scientist Julie Saba, who used the funds in part to support a collaborative research project with CHORI immunologist Dr. Greg Moe. Their work focused on developing a novel nanotechnology method for efficient delivery of cancer drugs to neuroblastoma, the most malignant tumor of childhood with the exception of brain tumors. SAA funds also supported new oncology fellow Latika Puri MD, who is participating in a research project focused on characterizing a newly discovered “oncogene” which drives cancer cell growth in pediatric brain tumors, neuroblastomas, and leukemias.
Children’s Hospital Oakland's Center for Cancer Research is committed to providing outstanding care to children and adolescents with cancer, improving upon existing knowledge regarding all aspects of pediatric oncology, and translating these insights into meaningful advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pediatric malignancies. Bringing together the outstanding resources of over half a dozen different basic laboratories and the clinical oncology program, the Center for Cancer Research fosters invaluable collaboration between clinicians and basic scientists in order to provide the highest standard in translational research and care. Whether designing, monitoring and implementing clinical research trials, or working to develop novel methods of treatment, Children’s Center for Cancer Research not only provides unsurpassed excellence in caring for cancer patients, but represents the most current model of cancer research.
Swim Across America is a national non-profit that runs events throughout the country to support cancer research at the best hospitals and institutions. To date, more than $25 million has been raised. For more information, visit www.swimacrossamerica.org/sanfrancisco.