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Rallying for the battle against childhood cancer

By Dawn Whaley, president and chief marketing officer at Sharecare

In 2005, when an incredibly brave 17-year-old named William was fighting a brain tumor for the second time in two years, a friend of his mom’s asked a seemingly simple question: “How can I help? And I will not make you dinner. This situation is so past dinner.”

William’s mother’s answer – to raise money for childhood cancer research and fund the best research wherever it may be – sparked the founding of the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that empowers volunteers across the country to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures.

To put the need for Rally’s work into perspective, consider this: Every two minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer, which is the leading disease cause of death for children; yet only four percent of cancer research dollars from the National Institutes of Health goes to researching pediatric cancer.

Since its founding, Rally’s efforts to help find cures has been palpable, resulting in the funding of more than $29 million in research grants, with 28% of Rally-funded research advancing to clinical trials to-date.

Our team first became aware of Rally in 2022, when we were invited to attend its annual fundraising event, the Rally Benefit Bash. After bearing witness to the incredible stories of the “Rally Kids” and their families – which Rally tirelessly supports in their cancer battles – we left the event very inspired. The 15th annual Rally Benefit Bash left an indelible impression that compelled us to find additional ways to support Rally and its important work.

That’s one of the many reasons why, in recognition of the nonprofit’s tremendous impact, we honored Rally with a 2023 Sharecare Award for Outstanding Foundation of the Year; and our founder Jeff Arnold served as corporate chairman of the 2023 Rally Benefit Bash earlier this month, alongside Dr. Henry Ting, chief health officer of Delta Air Lines.

We were humbled by the generosity and support of so many who attended this year’s Rally Benefit Bash, which raised more than $2.9 million in critical funding for advances in childhood cancer. These contributions truly make a difference, as some treatments Rally first funded years ago are now frontline treatments for kids battling cancer today. On behalf of Sharecare’s employees, clients, and partners who joined us that evening, I’d like to express our admiration for the impact Rally makes every day. And we know that – with continued funding – Rally will persist in bringing more potential cures to light and, most importantly, save more lives.

On this Giving Tuesday, I hope that you are inspired to contribute to this remarkable organization; and you can feel confident in a donation to Rally as, for every single dollar raised, 93% goes directly to support its mission. Further, Rally has earned top-tier designations from the most respected nonprofit watchdogs, including a perfect score from Charity Navigator.

While William ultimately lost his battle with brain cancer, the legacy he leaves as the original Rally Kid lives on. For William and all of the Rally Kids, let’s rally to end childhood cancer.