To find researchers doing that extraordinary work, Ian’s Friends has hosted symposiums in the “Shark Tank” style. About 50 experts have five minutes to present an idea and 10 to defend it to a room of physicists, oncologists, radiologists and clinicians. The top three to five winners receive funding.
“We’re not challenging them; we’re helping them find the holes in their research,” said Yagoda. “Often it can create collaboration between people with similar ideas.”
Some of the projects Ian’s Friends has supported have received additional support from the National Institutes of Health and been tagged with “breakthrough status” by the Food and Drug Administration. Since its inception, the foundation has funded 37 projects at 29 institutions. The goal is a better approach to treatment and information that could save other families from the Yagodas’ experience.
“Ian had a tumor in his brain stem, but he’s now 18 and doing great,” said Yagoda. “He and his friends are always volunteering with the foundation. He’s an inspiration that there is light at the end of the tunnel. For us, it’s a labor of love. At the end of the day, the greatest gift you can give to a parent is the life of their child.”
Information about Ian’s Friends Foundation is online at iansfriendsfoundation.com.
Who’s doing good? Each week, we write about a deserving individual, charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event or person for us to cover, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.