Industry News | November 18, 2011
CureSearch Cancer Research Takes the Cake
Children’s cancer may not be cured with chocolate peanut butter cake—but it’s a start.
The Double Chocolate Hill, a tower of sugary satisfaction concocted by Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, generates thousands of dollars each year for CureSearch, a national nonprofit whose mission is to fund children’s cancer research.
“There are 13,500 children who are diagnosed with cancer in the United States every year,” says John L. Lehr, CEO of CureSearch. “We raise money to support children’s cancer research, and we do that by supporting 175 hospitals in the U.S. that are conducting clinical trials to find new and better treatments for children with cancer.”
These 175 hospitals comprise the Children’s Oncology Group, the world’s largest cooperative children’s cancer research body.
One of the participating hospitals in the Children’s Oncology Group is Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, where a woman named Maureen Edelson worked as a pediatric oncologist.
Iron Hill Restaurant & Brewery operates nine restaurants across the Northeast. When the restaurant turned 10 in 2004, co-founders Kevin Finn, Mark Edelson, and Kevin Davies sat down to discuss charitable donations.
“Mark, Kevin [Davies], and I wanted always to have community involvement,” Kevin Finn says. “We wanted to develop a signature dessert where we would donate the sales to some charity. For the most part, we talked about staying away from bigger, national charities.”
And as they strategized, mulling over local organizations and nonprofits, Edelson’s wife Maureen offered advice to the conversation.
“Mark’s wife is a pediatric oncologist, and she worked at Alfred I. duPont Hospital,” Finn says. “She made a big pitch for us to get involved with CureSearch.”
Her persuasion did the trick.
Finn, Edelson, and Davies hit the kitchens of Iron Hill and reappeared with the Double Chocolate Hill, a moist chocolate cake with a warm peanut butter center, covered in a creamy glaze.
Of every Double Chocolate Hill purchased, 75 cents is donated to CureSearch. Since 2004, Iron Hill has donated $145,000 to the children’s cancer foundation.
Lehr describes CureSearch as a grassroots fundraising organization. Three key events—regional CureSearch Walks, an Ultimate Hike, and a kickball fundraiser called Kick-It—generate the profits CureSearch delegates to clinical research.
Beyond these events, Lehr says CureSearch relies on corporate partners, such as Iron Hill, that raise money on behalf of the organization.
This year, at the CureSearch walk in Wilmington, Delaware, Finn presented a check to CureSearch for nearly $16,000.
“I’ve been to a lot of events like that, races or walks to raise money, but this one—I’ve never seen that kind of enthusiasm,” Finn says.
The money finances research-based, data-driven trials.
“I would say that the breakthroughs that have taken place in survivorship rates in the past 20 or 30 years have been a result of these clinical trials,” Lehr says.
In June, for example, a clinical trial revealed that increasing doses of the chemotherapy medication methotrexate in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) would result in fewer relapse rates in the central nervous system.
While methotrexate had been used in ALL patients for more than 50 years, this clinical trial increased the dose by 50 times the starting amount, increasing the chances that methrotrexate infiltrates the central nervous system.
“When there are statistically significant results, the standard of care, or the best way to treat patients, will change,” Lehr says. “And the good thing about that is, the change takes place across all the hospitals in the country.”
The ALL study has now increased the survival rates of all leukemia patients going forward.
Lehr says he is grateful of Iron Hill’s partnership and its distinctive approach to fundraising for CureSearch.
“Whenever you go out to dinner, the waiter or waitress will say, ‘Do you want dessert?’” Lehr says. “Most people will say no, because they feel guilty about getting dessert. But having a dessert item on the menu that benefit’s children’s charities, or charity in particular, it’s a great motivator. People will then order that item.
“It’s win-win for the restaurant, win-win for the charity, and then it’s also win-win for the people that want dessert but feel guilty ordering it.”
Finn says CureSearch is an organization he is proud to partner with.
“We’ve done fundraisers for the Red Cross, for hurricane relief, and so on,” he says, “but this is a little bit different, a little more special, in my mind.”
By Sonya Chudgar
Food & Beverage
QSR® magazine has always found space to report on the charitable works and deeds of members of the foodservice community. But recently it became important to us to step up our efforts, and the decision was made to consolidate these stories in one place so you, the reader, could easily learn about what the industry is doing when it comes to giving back.
Our hope is that these pages will inspire and motivate you to take up your own cause—whatever that might be—to make our world a better place.
Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's International, told readers in the very first issue of QSR magazine that "Profit is not a dirty word." But Thomas also worked tirelessly for the many charitable causes that touched his life. In so doing, he proved that running a successful business extends beyond the bottom line and that the real rewards in life are measured in a currency far greater than the dollar.
So let these stories inspire you to find your cause, if you haven't already done so. We encourage you to let us know what you're doing, so that others might follow your lead, pickup your cause, and contribute in ever more positive ways to our communities and lives.
Among the causes that QSR magazine supports is CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. CureSearch for Children’s Cancer funds the lifesaving, collaborative research of the Children’s Oncology Group, the world's largest, cooperative pediatric cancer research organization. More than 5,000 physicians, nurses and other researchers, at more than 200 hospitals in North America, treat 90 percent of children with cancer. Funding efforts by CureSearch allows children with cancer to receive world-class treatment and care close to home.
Only research cures children’s cancer. The cure rates have risen from 10% forty years ago to a 78% overall cure rate today. Our goal is 100%.
Be part of the cure. Together, we can conquer children’s cancer.
The U.S. Congress has under consideration a bill that would provide $150 million for childhood cancer research. CureSearch offers an easy email template to write your federal representatives in support of this bill. It may be the most rewarding five minutes you spend today.