To find researchers doing that extraordinary work, Ian’s Friends held a “Shark Tank” style symposium. About 50 experts take five minutes to present an idea and ten minutes to defend it in a room of physicists, oncologists, radiologists and clinicians. The top 3-5 winners will receive the funds.
“We’re not challenging them. We’re helping them find research holes,” Yagoda said. “It can often create collaboration between like-minded people.”
Several of the projects Ian’s Friends supported received additional support from the National Institutes of Health and were tagged with “Breakthrough Status” by the Food and Drug Administration. Since its inception, the foundation has funded his 37 projects at his 29 institutions. The goal is a better approach to treatment and information that can save other families from the Yagoda experience.
“Ian had a tumor in his brain stem but is now 18 and doing well,” Yagoda said. “He and his friends are constantly volunteering for the Foundation. He’s an inspiration that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. For us, it’s a labor of love. The greatest gift you can give a parent is the life of a child.”
Information about Ian’s Friends Foundation is available online. iansfriendsfoundation.com.
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