Coronado’s Village Elementary School Student Council representatives presented a check for $379 to the McKenna Claire Foundation, a foundation dedicated to finding the cause and the cure for Pediatric Brain Cancer. The fund drive was part of the student council’s year-long project to raise money and awareness for underfunded issues that impact children.
Each month, the Village Elementary Student Council selects a different cause to support. January’s cause was pediatric brain cancer. Previous months focused on juvenile diabetes and pulmonary hypertension. March will be dedicated to raising money for the Coronado Schools Foundation. For every cause, the student council decorates and distributes classroom “coin” jars, collects and counts the money, posts signs around campus and encourages students to learn more about these very important issues.
Student council advisors, Ms. Shady, Ms. Garner, and Mr. Elderson, encourage students to build community and support philanthropic efforts. All three teachers emphasize that this project has been completely student driven, making it even more special. Fifth graders, Jack Outlaw and George Farley, raised the idea of supporting the McKenna Claire Foundation. Both said they heard McKenna’s story and wanted to help other children.
McKenna, a vivacious, seemingly healthy, 7-year-old from Huntington Beach was suddenly diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain stem tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). DIPG tumors, like many pediatric brain tumors, have very low survival rates. In July 2011, McKenna Claire lost her battle with cancer just six months after diagnosis.
The McKenna Claire Foundation’s mission is to cure pediatric brain cancer by raising awareness, increasing community involvement and funding research. One of the foundation’s near-term objectives is to raise money for innovative research being conducted at Stanford University’s Monje Lab. Using cell cultures from children who have donated their tumors to research, including McKenna Claire, the Monje Lab is dedicated to understanding how DIPG tumors originate, the molecular signals that drive their growth, and novel ways to treat DIPG.