My name is Amy, and I am the proud mom of two amazing boys, Avery and Evan. Our son Avery has battled embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma for three and a half years, enduring multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation in an attempt to fight this disease.  

When your child is first diagnosed with cancer you are bewildered and terrified. You are catapulted into a world that you didn’t even know existed. Then, once you wrap your head around the battle you are going to fight, you begin searching. Searching for reasons, answers, specialized treatment options and here’s what you find:  there are none. 

The unfortunate reality is that no primary drug approvals for rhabdomyosarcoma have occurred in history ever, and only 9 drugs have been developed for use in childhood cancer since 1978. By comparison, on average 12 or more adult drugs receive FDA approval annually.  This summer, it will be 10 years since a curative-intent, national clinical trial will be offered to relapsed rhabdomyosarcoma patients.  Even the latest national trial for high-risk rhabdomyosarcoma patients offers not a targeted therapy, but an added chemotherapy.  Knowing that over the past 25 years, survival rates haven’t significantly increased for high-risk patients and that novel effective therapies must be sought, I’m driven to change the paradigm for Avery, children like him – and perhaps even for the approximately 15,000 children diagnosed with cancer each year.  

Discovering cc-TDI and learning about their ground-breaking research has offered science-justified hope to me and the thousands of families afflicted by this reality. Earlier this year I launched Avery’s Rhabdo Blast, aiming to define all the different kinds of tumor cells in Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) and Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). Researchers are diving deep into understanding the biology of the rhabdomyosarcoma tumor, with the goal being a validated treatment approach to take from animal studies to clinical trial concept design.  

Spearheading this grassroots campaign has afforded me the opportunity to use my experience to truly impact the future of children living with rhabdomyosarcoma. cc-TDI is changing lives and the future of childhood cancer research by developing safe, effective and less toxic treatment options for our kids. Will you stand with me in support of cc-TDI’s mission this holiday season? Year-end gifts of any amount make a difference and will help jumpstart research in the new year. Gifts can be made here. Special thank you to student intern, Emily Radtke for her painting of rhabdomyosarcoma cells (above) in honor of Avery.

With hope and appreciation for all to come, 

Amy Quarels, Evan and Avery’s mom 

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