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Research Grant

Hyundai Hope Grant

Wade Lengeling was three years old when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer where tumors develop from the tissues that form the sympathetic nervous system.

Most common in children younger than five, for the approximately 30 percent of children with the low-risk or intermediate risk neuroblastoma, the prognosis and outcome can be excellent. But for the 70 percent whose neuroblastoma has mestasized - spread to the lymph nodes, liver, bones or bone marrow - the survival rate drops to 40 percent or less. What started as a neck ache and "scratchiness" in his legs turned out to be a golf-ball sized tumor in Wade's abdomen next to a kidney and cancer that had already spread to the bones in his neck, chest and legs. He was considered stage IV - high risk.

That was in 2011. In the months that followed, Wade underwent chemotherapy, surgery, a stem-cell transplant, radiation and immune modulating therapy at Children's. Today, Wade is doing his best to resemble a typical, healthy five year-old boy. His latest scans show no evidence of the cancer than nearly claimed his life.

It's gone. And Dr. Coulter is determined to find out why.

The opportunity to study neuroblastoma and other forms of pediatric cancers and disease depends upon another key component of medical research: funding. It's as vital as the medicines used to treat Wade's cancer.

On September 13, 2013 Hyundai Hope On Wheels and Omaha-area Hyundai dealers presented Children's with a $250,000 Hyundai Hope Grant for pediatric cancer research. The funds will support Dr. Coulter's work as he searches for novel therapies to improve treatments and outcomes for children with metastatic cancer. Obtaining funding for pediatric cancer research is challenging because pediatric cancer only accounts for about two percent of all cancers. Pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to put resources into research for this small population.

"We need to do a better job reminding people that kids do get cancer," Dr. Coulter says. "Then we have to let people know that kids do better in fighting cancer than adults."

The cancer battle continues for many at Children's but with the help of Hyundai Hope On Wheels so does the significant research right here in Omaha.
Consider joining Children's in growing funding for pediatric research.