Kids Beating Cancer Mission
Kids Beating Cancer (KBC) provides resources and support for children with cancer, leukemia and related life-threatening diseases throughout the treatment process, regardless of hospital affiliation. By providing the pre-transplant testing and donor identification, costs never covered by Medicaid and only partially covered by insurance, this testing is provided at no cost at the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center.
The Only Non-Profit Foundation of its Kind in America, Kids Beating Cancer is providing access to cures through the science of cutting edge bone marrow and stem cell transplants at the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center while providing resources and support for children with cancer, leukemia, and related life-threatening diseases and their families throughout the treatment process.
OUR PHILOSOPHY FOR OUR PROGRAMS
Keep Hope Alive – Fight for a Cure for Every Child – Keep the Family Together
Kids Beating Cancer’s vision is to have a place dedicated to curing the children of Florida and beyond at the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center. Kids Beating Cancer’s focus is on the belief we all strive for—the day when no child will die in the dawn of life.
For parents of a child diagnosed with cancer or one of 80 malignant and non-malignant life-threatening diseases, we don’t want them to just hope for a cure. Kids Beating Cancer wants to be the conduit that makes a cure possible.
Removing barriers and burdens placed on families that limit their ability to access stem cell transplantation, the best and only hope for a cure for their child is the goal Kids Beating Cancer accomplishes every day.
Kids Beating Cancer is a champion for these special children and their families, who only want what every parent wants: their child to be healthy, to beat cancer and for the family to survive the long journey to a cure.
The heart of our mission: children in need of marrow and stem cell transplantation.
Because all a family should worry about is helping their child live!
How One Boy Impacted the Lives of Thousands
The love for a child and the unspeakable sadness that comes from the loss of that child is the opening page of the Kids Beating Cancer Story. The following pages are all about how one little boy’s life has impacted over 8,000 children over the past 23 years. Five-year-old John was not able to understand the rare and highly fatal disease with which he had been stricken. John had Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which had evolved into acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML), an almost universally fatal disease. His only hope for a cure was a bone marrow transplant. With no options close to home, his young mother, Margaret, had to leave Central Florida to seek treatment at a pediatric transplant center in Seattle, Washington. With slim chance for survival, the next four years consisted of hospital rooms, painful treatments and two bone marrow transplants. A cure was not to be; John was nine years old when he died.
John was not able to beat his disease, but the battle has continued for others like John, who deserve a chance at a cure. The John Voight Memorial Foundation, Inc. was established in 1992, just six months after John’s death, based on two objectives: to provide transplant treatment for children close to home without compromising the quality of care and to support the families throughout the journey. In 1996, the name was changed to Kids Beating Cancer, Inc.
The vision that inspired 20 years of tenacious, unwavering effort was culminated in the opening of the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando in 2012, an 8-bed state-of-the-art facility.
The desire every parent prays for, a cure, and the hope for a family to stay intact throughout the long treatment process was born from one little boy’s question, “Mommy why do kids get leukemia?” Today, John’s question still can’t be answered, but the outcome of the efforts in his memory is changing thousands of children’s lives, offering them access to a cure without traveling far from home, at the Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center at Florida Hospital for Children.
Our story is only beginning. There is still so much more to do to offer every child access to their best hope for a cure and support for the families throughout the journey. Join us because so many chapters need your help to reduce barriers to the best care and burdens on the families throughout the treatment process. Our story needs you to see that all children have a happy ending and to put an end to childhood cancers.
The Story of Bunky Bear
Bunky, the trademark teddy bear for Kids Beating Cancer began his journey to bring love, comfort and companionship to children with cancer, leukemia, and those receiving bone marrow transplants many years ago when he met a young boy named John. John was preparing to receive his second bone marrow transplant for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) that had evolved into the high-risk Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML).
He was sad to once again have to go through the 100 plus day transplant process only 10 months after going through his first transplant. At that time, John had to be transplanted at a hospital all the way across the country due to his age and severity of his disease. Bunky and John became inseparable. He was John’s comfort and companion. If Bunky was by his side, all could be tolerated. They were together until the end when John lost his battle at the age of nine after a difficult four-year journey.
John loved his Bunky, and wanted him to live on so other kids would feel safe and loved. Bunky was reborn at Kids Beating Cancer to offer that love to other children. In early years, he was hand sewn and went through several changes as he became a symbol of Kids Beating Cancer.
In 2013, Bunky was redesigned and a new Limited Edition Bunky was created. Over the years thousands of Bunky bears have been delivered all over the US to children battling cancer and other similar life-threatening diseases. John’s spirit lives on through all the joy his pal Bunky brings to every child that receives this soft, cuddly treasured new friend.