Four time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Jeff Gordon has combined determination, hard work and decades of experience to achieve an unparalleled roster of victories. Three Daytona 500 wins, Four Brickyard 400 wins, along with numerous other victories and pole positions make Jeff a leader in the sport of racing.
Off the track, Jeff, his wife, Ingrid, daughter Ella and son Leo split their time between Manhattan and Charlotte, North Carolina. Thankful for his healthy child and his successful career, Jeff seeks to help children gain their own victories over pediatric cancer as well as supporting the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital in Concord, NC through the work of The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation.
Jeff began supporting organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society early in his career. The diagnosis of his crew chief's (Ray Evernham) son in 1992 inspired Jeff to establish his foundation in hopes of helping children facing critical illness to realize their dreams. What had started as a small project driven by one special child has grown into an organization that has raised more than $11 million for children's charities.
The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation
The mission of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation is to support children battling cancer by funding programs that improve patients' quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship and pediatric medical research dedicated to finding a cure. Our vision is there will be a day when no child will face the uncertainty of cancer and successful treatments will not result in negative, long-term effects.
In addition the Foundation provides support to the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital (JGCH) in Concord, NC which serves children in the community by providing a high level of primary and specialty pediatric care. We envision that JGCH will forever serve as a model to other communities who want to provide the highest level of care to all of their children, regardless of their ability to pay.
Current US Based Pediatric Cancer Research/Treatment Initiatives
- Established the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Fund in 2009 at Riley Hospital for Children - investment $1.5 million. Riley is making strides in developing treatments for Neuroblastoma (solid tumors) and brain tumors.
- Funded Long-Term Treatment Study being conducted by the Children's Oncology Group/CureSearch. The study focuses on gathering data from cancer patients throughout their lifetime to better understand the lifetime effects of various treatments, and ultimately to improve protocol effectiveness as well as minimize negative side effects that often plague children for the rest of their lives. We continue to pursue other initiatives in partnership with CureSearch to further the fight against childhood cancer.
- Fund the Children's Oncology Group - EveryChild Initiative. The initiative will result in an increase in the volume of clinical research date a being submitted to the COG. Moreover, this data will need to be increasingly linked with COG's biobank located at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH and be accessible to researchers undertaking approved- omic (genomic, protemic, metabolic, etc) research projects using patient biospecimens and clinical data.
- Funded the Pediatric Cancer Research Portfolio for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - three consecutive years.
- Offer competitive grant program to support local and regional organizations working to improve the lives of children with cancer. Grants are offered up to $15,000 and are distributed by the Promise Circle of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation.
- Funding of the Caroline Pryce Walker Act which was passed in 2008 and promised $30 million/year for research. To date, no funds have been appropriated.
- Continuation of research funding at $10 million for FY 2011 under the Department of Defense budget
- Support for the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Act of 2009
- Commitment to join the Pediatric Cancer Caucus which was recently formed in the House of Representative
Comprehensive Cancer Care in Rwanda - A Collaborative Program with Partners In Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
With the improvement in healthcare in Rwanda and gradual increase in the average life span, the number of cancer cases presenting to the medical system is increasing rapidly. The World Health Organization estimates that there will be 16 million new cancer cases worldwide by 2020, with 70% of those cases in the developing world. While the scope of the cancer burden within Rwanda remains poorly defined, the WHO GLOBOCAN 2002 global cancer database estimates that approximately 650,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed annually in Africa. By 2020, more than 1 million of the new cancer cases will be in sub-Saharan Africa.
By the year 2020, Rwanda will have hundreds of thousands of cancer patients living within its borders. Given this anticipated epidemic, a comprehensive oncology and palliative care program that includes training providers, developing infrastructure, and building on the successful pediatric cancer care pilot programs is needed to save or improve the lives of Rwandan children with cancer.
The collaborative's oncology work in Rwanda is focused in two areas:
1. Providing excellent cancer care to patients within the three rural districts o Providing appropriate human resources in the form of Rwandan doctors and nurses at each district hospital who are trained in the basics of providing chemotherapy and supportive care to cancer patients presenting to health facilities; on-site specialist support from pediatricians, internal medicine doctors, obstetrics and gynecology doctors, and surgeons; and availability of remote advice from oncologists within our partner institutions in the US. o Providing access to high quality diagnostics for patients cared for in these districts, including local and US-based pathology services as needed, imaging including CT scans when necessary, and surgical services for biopsy. o Funding for ongoing access to chemotherapeutic agents o The ability to send patients outside of Rwanda for radiation therapy when needed o Access to surgical services for tumor excision
2. Support and partnership with the Ministry of Health in strengthening a national cancer program that makes high quality care accessible to all Rwandans, regardless of income or address. This includes working with the central MOH on creating national policy for oncology, and supporting the creation and implementation of protocols for both the national referral hospitals and rural district hospitals for a package of oncology diagnosis and treatment that is realistic for each level.
The program will also include provisions for the screening, prevention and early detection that have the greatest long-term benefits in oncological care. For those cases advanced beyond the reach of current medical interventions, a comprehensive palliative care program is required to support patients at the end of life. Programs will also link service closely to research and training, creating a feedback loop to continuously improve the quality of care and of the program.
A significant goal of this program is to document and disseminate its findings, supporting efforts to improve the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and palliation of pediatric cancers in resource-poor settings worldwide.
Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital
- 48 bed hospital opened in December of 2006
- 28 Pediatric beds
- 15 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) beds (Will go to 28 beds with the next hospital expansion)
- 5 Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) beds
- Pediatric Pavilion - a collection of pediatric sub-specialty services, once only available in larger cities
- Child Advocacy Center - addresses the complicating issues surrounding child physical and sexual abuse in Cabarrus County and outlying areas.
- The Foundation continues to support the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital through annual grants which provide equipment, training and program support as part of our commitment to maintain a state-of-the-art hospital that will serve every child regardless of their ability to pay.
© copyright Flashes of Hope – Jim Barnett