Bite Me Cancer Distributes Its 10,000th Teen Support Bag to Teenagers Dealing with Cancer!
Founder Nikki Ferraro has announced that the foundation had now reached over 10,000 teenagers with distribution of the Teen Support Bag to almost 200 hospitals. Teenagers are receiving a bag who live in every state and DC.
The Teen Support Bag was developed by Nikki and others due to her experience as a teenager herself with cancer. She realized that teens fell through the cracks in the support for cancer patients. The younger pediatric patients received much well-deserved attention, and the adults could find their needed services; but teenagers were left out in many cases. Teenagers are very aware of medical information, their challenges, the seriousness of their situation, etc. At this same time, they are trying to be more independent from parents as they grow through middle/high school and perhaps even college. They are trying to be with their friends more, learning to drive, playing sports, etc. This is not the time to pull them back to hospitals, scans, labs, and many doctor appointments.
The Teen Support Bag shows them that they are not alone – we get it – and want to help them. The reaction to the bag has been highly positive, with many teens, parents and hospital workers reaching out to us to share their reactions.
Bite Me Cancer's 8th Annual Wine Dinner Raises Over $100,000!
A highly successful event combined fun and a commitment to teens dealing with cancer to raise over $100,000 to help support the foundation and its Teen Support Bag program. This event raised the most funds ever at one event for Bite Me Cancer! Nearly 200 people attended this wine dinner held at Westwood Country Club in Vienna, VA on September 16, 2022, which included a silent auction and a "live ask."
Founder Nikki gave her emotional keynote speech highlighting her own medical journey as well as the challenges for teenagers dealing with cancer.
The 9th Thyroid Research Grant Has Been Designated!
Bite Me Cancer is excited to have choose Dr. Shoku Kure from Beth Israel Medica Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, for the 9th grant 2-year grant. This grant is being shared with ThyCa (Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association) and is overseen/managed by ATA (American Thyroid Association).
For medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), surgery is currently the first line treatment. Clinically available drugs are limited, and patients may develop drug resistance and tumor progression. Therefore, new therapeutic options are urgently needed for the refractory MTC. MTC is a tumor with abundant vessels. These tumor vessels are crucial for maintaining tumor aggressiveness. Pericytes are one of the vessel components, in the normal tissue as well as tumor tissue. They express receptors (called tyrosine kinase receptor (TK) and impact the drug response by TK inhibitors (TKIs). In Dr. Carmelo Nucera’s lab, it has been recently identified that one of the TKIs, lenvatinib, significantly induced higher thyroid cancer cell death when tumor cells grew together with pericytes. Dr. Kure works in Dr. Nucera’s lab and will focus on this finding.
The 7th Annual Wine Dinner Event is a Big Success!
Bite Me Cancer held its wine dinner after a few postponements during 2020’s Covid lockdown. About 175 attendees joined that evening, coming together to support teens dealing with cancer. Funds raised that night went directly to the Teen Support Bag program, and over $90,000 was raised through the whole event that included a silent auction and a “live ask.”
Also, 11 honorees were presented that have been with the foundation from the beginning.
The 8th Thyroid Cancer Research Grant is Announced!
Bite Me Cancer is so proud to choose Dr. Eman Ali Toraih from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. for its next 2-year research grant. Dr. Toraih is focused on the challenges of predicting which tumors will remain indolent and which will progress and to decide who should receive adjuvant radioiodine therapy or extensive postoperative surveillance. Hence, there is an urgent need to identify biomarkers that can accurately predict tumor recurrence or persistence in advance.
8,000 Teenagers with cancer given teen support bags
Even after a challenging 2020 with Covid, the foundation was still able to send out more Teen Support Bags across the country with almost another 1,000 being shipped out in 2020. There are almost 150 hospitals in Bite Me Cancer's network, allowing teenagers in all states and DC to receive a bag.
The 2020 Annual Wine Dinner is Cancelled Due to Covid.
Originally, our annual wine dinner was postponed from April 25, 2020 to October 4, 2020. We have now made the decision to cancel the event due to the ongoing Covid challenges. We will celebrate this year's 10th anniversary and Nikki's 10th "cancerversary" in 2021.
7th Thyroid Cancer Research Grant is Awarded!
Bite Me Cancer chosen a grant directed by Dr. Cristina Montero-Conde, PhD, Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), Madrid, Spain, entitled “Discovering novel molecular nodes involved in MTC development and evolution.” This research project has the potential to identify molecular events that confer an outgrowth advantage to the tumor but at the same time a greater dependence on specific oncogenes or molecular networks. Therefore, such alterations could predict enhanced responses to selective molecules, such as the RET-targeted inhibitors Blu-667 (submitted for FDA approval) and LOXO-292 (recently FDA approved. In addition, the results of this proposal will generate the first map of allelic imbalance events in MTC.
$1 Million in Funds Raised
September 5, 2019 – When Nikki began fundraising in April 2010, it was a week after her cancer diagnosis. She decided right away to lead a Relay for Life team for American Cancer Society and named her team Bite Me Cancer. She and her team raised $22,000 and catapulted her into developing Bite Me Cancer as a foundation. During the following year, she led another Relay for Life Team. When her foundation began in September 2010, she also began to raise funds through the foundation. This week, she reached $1 million in funds raised!
9th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser
Bite Me Cancer held it's anniversary celebration to highlight that the foundation was formed in September 2010 by Nikki Ferraro who was 17 years old at the time, only 5 months after her own cancer diagnosis. Since Bite Me Cancer began, 6 thyroid cancer research grants have made with those 6 research projects underway. Also, Bite Me Cancer has sent 6,300 Teen Support Bags to teenagers battling all cancers throughout the country to 120 hospitals within 47 states and DC.
6th Thyroid Cancer Research Grant Recipent Chosen
Bite Me Cancer designated its researcher who is Dr. Anthanasios Bikas, Georgetown University/MedStar Washington Hospital Center. His 2-year research grant is titled “Targeting Mitochondrial Cytochrome-C-Oxidase for the Treatment of MTC.” MTC is Medullary Thyroid Cancer. This current grant is a partnership of Bite Me Cancer and the Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association (ThyCa) and is managed by the American Thyroid Association
8th Anniversary Party and Fundraiser
Bite Me Cancer, a national nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, VA, celebrated it's 8th anniversary with a party! It also announced that it has raised more than $800,00 to support teenagers with all cancers and fund thyroid cancer research grants, and has personally reached out to more than 5,200 teens hospitalized with cancer providing them with much needed teen support.