Our Year In Review: 2022
Oh, what a journey this year has been!
Watch our 2022 highlight reel to look back on some of this year's most celebratory moments, and read below for more.
Celebrating Big Milestones:
- On January 27, 2022 we kicked off the year by celebrating our 7th birthday! We commemorated the day with balloons and a birthday cake provided by our friends at Phacilitate's Advanced Therapies Week conference in Miami.
- April 17, 2022 marked the ten year anniversary of Emily becoming the first pediatric patient in the world to receive a CAR T-cell therapy infusion.
- To commemorate this milestone, we launched a campaign Celebrating 10 Years of CAR T-cell Therapy. Many of our friends across the cell and gene therapy industry joined us in celebrating a decade of advancements for CAR-T.
- As a special memento to mark the occasion of 10 years cancer free, Emily designed a special Activate The CURE t-shirt that incorporated the names of several CAR-T warriors that inspire us within the word 'CURE'.
- On May 10, 2022, we officially celebrated Emily's 10 year cancer free anniversary. With this milestone reached, Emily's doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia officially declared her cured.
Advocating Around the World:
- In April we hopped across the pond, traveling first to London in the United Kingdom. While there, we visited with the team at Ori Biotech and had the opportunity to record a podcast segment with Lucy Ellerker and Lewis Jones, the parents of CAR-T warrior Opie Jones.
- From London we traveled to Dublin, Ireland to advocate for CAR T-cell therapy and meet with the teams at Avectas, Accenture, and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT).
- During our stay in Dublin, we also celebrated the great news that CAR T-cell therapy had officially been made available in Ireland! Prior to this approval, patients living in Ireland had to travel to the United Kingdom to receive CAR-T. The Irish Independent: Former patient Emily visits Ireland with message of hope as Car-T Cell cancer treatment is introduced here.
- In late August we traveled overseas to Switzerland to celebrate Emily's 10 years cancer free. While there, we had the opportunity to visit with teams from Barkey, Tigen, and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Agora Research Center.
- We also had the opportunity to visit the Novartis manufacturing facility in Stein, Switzerland to inspire their team and celebrate the five year anniversary of CAR T-cell therapy's approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Association.
- On November 29, 2022 Tom and Emily traveled to Brussels, Belgium and shared Emily's story with members of the European Union Parliament to advocate for policies that support better access to cell and gene therapies for patients across Europe.
Spreading Awareness on the Silver Screen:
- In June, we attended Tribeca Festival to celebrate the premiere of Of Medicine and Miracles. This feature documentary, directed by Academy-Award winner Ross Kauffman and produced by Academy-Award nominee Robin Honan, follows the incredible stories of Emily Whitehead and cancer researcher Dr. Carl June, whose lives converge at just the right moment to make medical history. Since Tribeca, Of Medicine and Miracles won several awards for Best Documentary in film festivals across the U.S.
- In October we traveled to Seattle, Washington to share Of Medicine and Miracles with Life Science Washington.
- In November, we had the pleasure of sharing Of Medicine and Miracles with our hometown as part of Centre Film Festival. At the conclusion of the festival, Of Medicine and Miracles was awarded Best Documentary!
- For their role in documenting their daughter’s cancer journey, as represented in the film through a series of home videos, the Centre Film Festival also honored Tom and Kari Whitehead as the second annual recipients of the Chandler Living Legacy Award.
Join us at Advanced Therapies Week 2023 (January 17, 2023) for the next opportunity to see Of Medicine and Miracles!
- In July we held our 8th annual Tee Off for T-Cells golf tournament. With a record number of golfers participating this year, we raised raised a total $49,600! In eight years, Tee Off for T-Cells has now raised over $405,000 toward our mission to Activate The Cure for childhood cancer.
- Altoona Mirror: Condo, PSU players unite to help foundation
WTAJ-TV: “Tee Off for T-Cells” to fund pediatric cancer research
- On September 17, 2022 our Believe Ball returned for the first time in person since our inaugural gala in 2017. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and the dedication of our volunteers, we hosted 25 CAR-T families at no cost and raised a total over $300,000!
Getting Active to Activate the Cure:
- This year, we had runners taking strides for the Emily Whitehead Foundation in the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York City marathons!
- On September 21, 2022 we returned to the CAR-TCR Summit in Boston and hosted a 5k Run/Walk. We were joined by 50 conference participants stepping towards a cure to help us raise over $3,900!
- On September 24, 2022 Emily Whitehead Foundation board member Tom Garrett hosted the 10th Annual Blood, Sweat & Tears fundraiser in Mt. Gretna, PA. This year's run not only celebrated Emily being ten years cancer free, but also honored a long time friend of the local running community, Mike McCauley. Lebanon Daily News: Blood, Sweat & Tears run returns to Lebanon, marks 10 years of T-Cell therapy breakthrough
- On Thanksgiving morning we hosted our first ever Turkey Trot in our hometown of Philipsburg, PA. The local community rallied to support, with over 70 participants trotting "over the river and through the woods" with us!
- At our Believe Ball in September, we awarded our second Nicole Gularte Fight for Cures Embassador Award to Dr. Philippa Kennedy of the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kennedy's received a grant for $50,000, co-funded by our friends at Cytiva, to support her work developing an alternative CAR-T therapy for solid tumor cancers using natural killer cells.
- This year we joined the DIPG / DMG Research Funding Alliance to support advanced DIPG/DMG research, such as the clinical trial that CAR-T warrior Jace Ward participated in.
- We also proudly presented Dr. Hannah-Lise Schofield of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with a second grant to support her study on the Neuropsychological Outcomes of Pediatric Chimeric Antigen Receptor-Engineered (CAR) T-Cell Therapy.
In the News:
- TODAY Show: First child to receive CAR T-cell therapy is 10 years cancer-free
- People Magazine: Teen Is Cured from Cancer After Groundbreaking Therapy: 'It's a Miracle I'm Alive'
- CBS Sunday Morning: How an experimental treatment beat a little girl's cancer
- Oncology Times: The Incredible Story of Emily Whitehead & CAR T-Cell Therapy
We have been fortunate to travel the world, sharing Emily's story to spread awareness of CAR-T and inspire those who are working hard to further develop and distribute these advanced therapies.
As we look ahead to the next decade of cancer research, and the future of the Emily Whitehead Foundation, we are committed to our mission to activate the cure for many more decades of CAR-T warriors and their families
Thank you for sharing this journey with us!
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