9 Best Charities That Combat Pediatric (Childhood) Cancer (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Combat Pediatric (Childhood) Cancer (Complete 2022 List)

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Alycia O'Dell

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Every year, more than 300,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide. Moreover, the cause of childhood cancer is often unknown, so it can be hard to prevent. In addition to the devastating toll cancer can take on the physical health of a child, their families also face difficulties such as financial strain and emotional turmoil. Organizations around the world are working to help children and their families overcome cancer. So, we had to ask: what are the best charities that combat pediatric (childhood) cancer?

The best charities that combat childhood cancer are Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and CURE Childhood Cancer. Charities such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The V Foundation work to fund innovative research into new and improved childhood cancer treatments.

Whether you want to ensure that families dealing with extended hospital stays have a comfortable place to stay, fund cutting-edge research to better understand and treat childhood cancer, or help families of newly diagnosed children to access vital resources, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that combat childhood cancer are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Combat Pediatric (Childhood) Cancer Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. The majority of these charities operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some fight childhood cancer internationally.

Many of these charities focus on advancing research to find the best treatments to end childhood cancer. Others focus on alleviating the financial burden of cancer so families can focus on caring for their children. Some fulfill the physical needs of families such as hot meals and lodging, while others ensure that families’ emotional needs are met through counseling and education. Yet, they all share a common goal; to combat the effects of pediatric (childhood) cancer.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Combat Pediatric (Childhood) Cancer

Below are our favorite charities for children’s health:

  • Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
  • CURE Childhood Cancer
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • The V Foundation
  • Family Reach
  • National Pediatric Cancer Foundation
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • Rally Foundation
  • National Children’s Cancer Society

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: A Legacy of Hope

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was founded in 2005 by Liz and Jay Scott in memory of their daughter, Alex, who raised money for pediatric cancer by operating a lemonade stand before her death. Today, the organization continues their mission to change the lives of children and families living with cancer.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time.”

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

What they do: Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation improves the lives of children with cancer by funding research, raising awareness, and supporting and empowering families. For example, their ALSF Grant Program funds cutting-edge research into all facets of pediatric cancer, from early diagnosis to treatment. Furthermore, their Childhood Cancer Data Lab initiative seeks to accelerate cancer research by streamlining access to existing data. The charity also supports families of children with cancer through their Travel for Care program, which offsets the costs of traveling for treatment, and their Super Sibs program, which offers comfort and encouragement to siblings.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $250 million to fight childhood cancer. They have also funded more than 1,000 projects at 150 institutions across the US and Canada. In 2021, their Travel for Care program helped over 400 families and their Super Sibs program reached more than 1,900 siblings of children with cancer.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation via their website. You can also volunteer locally or participate in an event.

CURE Childhood Cancer: Fighting Cancer, Supporting Families

CURE Childhood Cancer was founded in 1975 by Emory University Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Abdel Ragab to fund the development of the University’s Pediatric Oncology Program. Today, the charity is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research and patient support.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives CURE Childhood Cancer a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Gold Seal of Transparency.

Until there is a cure, there’s CURE.”

CURE Childhood Cancer

What they do: CURE Childhood Cancer works to combat childhood cancer by funding targeted research and providing support to cancer patients and their families. They particularly prioritize research that will lead to more efficient treatment, such as the use of precision medicine to determine the best course of treatment for each individual child. They also offer emotional, financial, and practical support to families. For example, their Open Arms Meal Program provides meals to families in the hospital. In addition, their Early Outreach Program provides newly diagnosed families with a tote bag containing important resources, such as an educational booklet written by experienced parents, and connects families with a community of emotional support.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, CURE Childhood Cancer has improved the lives of millions of children with cancer and their families. Since 2010, they have invested over $38 million in cutting-edge cancer research, including the development of genetic testing for children with high-risk tumors. Furthermore, in 2021, their Open Arms Meal Program provided 13,000 boxed meals to families in hospitals. In the same year, their Early Outreach Program distributed 342 tote bags to newly diagnosed families.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to CURE Childhood Cancer via their website. You can also attend an event or host a fundraiser.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: Advancing Research to Advance Cures

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded in 1962 by Danny Thomas to give back to communities after he found success as an entertainer. Today, the organization is a leading force in the understanding and treatment of childhood diseases, including childhood cancer.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Silver Seal of Transparency. 

No child should die in the dawn of life.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

What they do: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital advances cures and prevention for pediatric diseases through research and treatment. They do this by providing direct treatment to children with life-threatening diseases, including experimental or specialized treatment for children who have not responded to standard care. They also provide resources and support services free of charge to families at all stages of treatment. In addition, they fund research to better understand diseases, including childhood cancer, and to develop breakthrough treatments. Furthermore, they offer training to future clinicians and biomedical researchers.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital has helped to push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from 20% to over 80%. While they are known as one of the world’s premier pediatric cancer research center, too,  in 1996, St. Jude doctor Peter Doherty was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for his research on viral infections and organ transplants. Since then, the charity’s international initiative, St. Jude Global Alliance has grown to 127 institutions in 57 countries.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital via their website. You can also participate in a fundraiser or volunteer at a chapter in your community.

The V Foundation: Victory Over Cancer

The V Foundation was founded in 1993 by famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano during his own fight with cancer, to find a cure for the disease. Today, the organization remains committed to funding research on all types of cancer, including childhood cancer.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives The V Foundation a 4-star rating. According to their financial report, the charity spent 81.4% of their expenditure on grants and 7.9% on fundraising.

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

The V Foundation

What they do: The V Foundation funds game-changing research and promising scientists to combat cancers affecting adults and children. Through a highly competitive selection process, The V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee awards grants to the most promising people and projects. Grants for childhood cancer research are funded through the charity’s Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer. These include research into new therapy treatments for pediatric cancer patients, as well as better ways to protect the reproductive health of young cancer patients

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, The V Foundation has awarded nearly $290 million in research grants to more than 154 institutions in 40 states in the US and Canada. Furthermore, the Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer has awarded almost $60 million to end childhood cancer, including the development of genetic therapies that target the PPMID gene, which causes tumor growth.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to The V Foundation’s Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer via their website. You can also participate in an event or support a fundraiser.

Family Reach: Absorbing the Financial Shock

Family Reach was founded in 1996 by two families after they experienced the financial strain of cancer first-hand. Inspired by their own struggles, they sought to help ease the financial burden for other families. Today, Family Reach remains dedicated to removing the financial barriers between child cancer patients and treatment. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Family Reach a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Gold Seal of Transparency.

The financial burden of cancer is a life or death problem.”

Family Reach

What they do: Family Reach alleviates the financial burden of caring for a child or loved one with cancer through their Financial Treatment Program. The program consists of 4 primary services: Financial Coaching, Resource Navigation, Financial Education, and Emergency Relief. Each family is matched with a Resource Navigator who creates a customized plan to minimize financial strain. They also provide resources to educate families on the financial side-effects of cancer and how to manage them. In addition, they offer grants to struggling families to help cover the cost of basic necessities such as rent or groceries.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Family Reach has helped 61,212 families to stay financially afloat during their battles with cancer, 40% of whom were dealing with Pediatric Cancer. Furthermore, they have distributed more than $12.9 million to families to help cover the cost of rent and supported the treatment-related travel costs of 6,602 families. Moreover, in 2021, they partnered with 855 treatment centers and disease-specific organizations to reach even more families on a national scale.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Family Reach via their website. You can also attend an event or you can fundraise by becoming a Reach Athlete.

National Pediatric Cancer Foundation: Collaboration for a Cure

The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation was founded in 1991 by Melissa Helms and Risa Tramel to find a cure for pediatric cancer, after both their children battled with the disease. Today, the organization continues their mission to find less toxic and more effective treatments for childhood cancer.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Rise up for a faster cure.”

National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

What they do: The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation funds research and clinical trials to improve existing cancer treatments and to find better ones. For example, through their Sunshine Project, they bring together scientists and researchers from different fields to streamline the research process. Furthermore, their Sunshine Lab tests new compounds and combinations of drugs to help children who have not experienced positive results with existing treatments.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Pediatric Cancer institute has dedicated over $33 million to cancer research, including the development of a vaccine to treat high-grade gliomas in children. Furthermore, their Sunshine Project has grown to include over 150 top scientists and researchers at over 30 pediatric cancer institutes in the US. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation via their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering locally, participating in an event, or by fundraising.

Ronald McDonald House Charities: Caring for Sick Children and Their Families

Ronald McDonald House Charities was founded in 1984 to provide home’s-away-from-home for families of children who require regular hospital visits, including those with childhood cancer. Today, they are a global network dedicated to children’s health and supporting families.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Ronald McDonald House Charities a 4-star rating. They are also an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

We believe that when families are together, they cope better.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities

What they do: Ronald McDonald House Charities enable, support, and facilitate family-centered care for children, including children with cancer. They do this through three core programs: Ronald McDonald House programs provide families with room and board near their hospitalized child without incurring the cost of hotels and food. Their Ronald McDonald Family Room programs offer comfortable hospitality rooms inside hospitals, and their Ronald McDonald Care Mobile programs bring medical and dental care to children in underserved communities. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Ronald McDonald House Charities has supported millions of children and families across 62 countries through 685 core programs, including those with childhood cancer. For example, in 2021 alone, they provided over 1.8 million overnight stays, saving families more than $504 million in lodging costs. At least one core program operates at 90% of all children’s hospitals worldwide.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities via their website. You can also host a fundraiser or volunteer at a chapter in your community.

Rally Foundation: Rallying for a Cure

The Rally Foundation was founded in 2005 by Dean Crowe to fund cancer research after she was inspired by a boy on her husband’s baseball team who was battling a brain tumor. Today, they empower volunteers across the US to raise awareness and funds to cure pediatric cancer.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Rally Foundation a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency.

For Research. For Cures. For Kids fighting cancer.”

Rally Foundation

What they do: Rally Foundation combats childhood cancer by funding cutting-edge research to find new and improved treatments with fewer, less severe side effects. Furthermore, they fundraise to invest in research at all stages, from initial ideas to clinical trials. In addition, they advocate to secure federal funding for childhood cancer research. Parents can also apply to have their children become Rally Kids, to create a research fund in their name so donors can support their child specifically. Moreover, the Rally Foundation’s Family Emergency Fund helps families with the financial burden of a childhood cancer diagnosis.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Rally Foundation has awarded $25.4 million across 457 research grants to fight childhood cancer. In addition, their advocacy efforts helped secure $56 million in new federal funding from the US Department of Defense for 44 research projects into pediatric cancer. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Rally Foundation via their website, where you also have the option to choose a specific Rally Kid’s fund to support. You can also fundraise or raise awareness as a Rally Young Professional.

National Children’s Cancer Society: Community Support for the Whole Family

The National Children’s Cancer Society was founded in 1987 to help families of children with cancer afford bone marrow transplantation, which was experimental and expensive at the time. Today, the charity provides emotional, financial, and educational support to children with cancer and their families.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives The National Children’s Cancer Society a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency.

Because no family should go through childhood cancer alone.”

National Children’s Cancer Society

What they do: The National Children’s Cancer Society helps families battling childhood cancer by offering emotional, financial, and educational support. Their financial aid programs assist families with some of the costs associated with cancer treatment. For example, their Transportation Assistance Fund helps families pay for travel and lodging expenses if they need to seek treatment away from home. Furthermore, their Family Support Program pairs families with a case manager who offers practical and emotional support to families throughout their cancer journey. In addition, their Beyond the Cure program helps families navigate life after cancer by providing tailored long-term assessments, as well as offering college scholarship opportunities.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the National Children’s Cancer Society has distributed more than $68 million to the families of more than 45,000 children battling cancer. Their Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program has distributed more than $1.8 million to childhood cancer survivors to help them achieve their educational goals. Furthermore, their innovative Late Effects After Treatment Tool has helped cancer survivors and their healthcare team anticipate potential future physical and cognitive effects of their cancer treatment. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the National Children’s Cancer Society via their website. You can also host a fundraiser or attend an event.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that combat childhood cancer. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to combatting childhood cancer – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Alycia O'Dell

Alycia loves to research and write about organizations that invest in the health and welfare of marginalized communities. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and works with children with autism. Outside of work, she is a new mom to twins and loves helping them learn and explore.

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