What $1.3 million means for the kids at Children's Mercy Cancer Center
A look back at Big Slick 2016
Some of Hollywood's funniest, philanthropic celebrities descended on Kansas City for 2016's Big Slick Celebrity Weekend. Hosts Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis, Eric Stonestreet, and David Koechner, who all have local roots, joined 30 of their famous friends for a weekend of fun fundraising to benefit the Children's Mercy Cancer Center.
A press conference and hospital visits with patients on Friday morning kicked off the jam-packed weekend. Current Children's Mercy patients and their families enjoyed games, books, and endless selfies with the celebrities. A hot Kansas City summer day couldn't stop the celebrities from a trip to Kauffman stadium. Royals fans and Children's Mercy fans poured into Kauffman stadium to watch a celebrity softball game before the Royals took the field. On Saturday morning, the biggest stars of the weekend, Children's Mercy patients, walked the red carpet with the celebs and joined them in a bocce and bowling tournament at Pinstripes in Overland Park.
Kansas City's most influential people and businesses attended the Big Slick Victory Party and auction on Saturday evening. Trips to Los Angeles to visit show sets, tickets to Royals games, VIP experiences at Saturday Night Live and KU basketball games were auctioned off. As the night came to a close, the hosts and their celebrity friends gathered on stage to announce the record-breaking $1.3 million raised for Children's Mercy.
But that $1.3 million total means so much more than selfies with celebrities and a weekend full of stardom in Kansas City. Nearly 2,000 kids with childhood cancers, sickle cell diseases, hemophilia and other blood disorders are treated by Children's Mercy Cancer Center each year.The Cancer Genomics Program focuses on the sequencing and analysis of rare inherited diseases in children by developing clinical tests for next-generation medical treatments designed to improve outcomes.
"Cancer genomics really refers to looking at what mutations are present in the cancer and trying to then figure out if there are treatments that can be tailored to each patient's care," said Dr. Erin Guest, Director of Children's Mercy's Cancer Genomics Progam. "It's a molecular-guided treatment - if you know what mutations are there, you might be able to pick a certain drug that might target those mutations."
$1.3 million will allow the Cancer Genomics Program to continue developing molecularly targeted therapy designed specifically for each patient, rather than providing standard chemotherapy.
"The cellular therapy programs, the immunotherapy programs, they're finding innovative ways to treat cancer rather than just chemotherapy and transplant and radiation," Dr. Guest said. "We're going to find that we can do it better, we can have less side effects and, with the addition of immune therapy, we're going to really see better outcomes."
While Big Slick Celebrity Weekend brings days worth of excitment and energy to Kansas City, $1.3 million brings life-changing innovation and resources to the Children's Mercy Cancer Center.
Learn more about the Children's Mercy Cancer Center.
Learn more about the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend.