Local foundation donates $100K for leukemia research

DULUTH -- A local foundation recently donated $100,000 to a pair of leukemia researchers, in addition to another $25,000 for a related cause that was "so compelling from a humanitarian standpoint."

The Duluth-based When Everyone Survives Foundation sent separate $50,000 checks to Dr. Miguel-Angel Perales and Dr. Omar Abdel-Wahab, both of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York. Their research proposals, which were chosen from 38 grant requests, were "uniquely different, promising and potentially curative," foundation president W.E. Smith said.

For specific details about their research proposals, visit www.wheneveryonesurvives.org.

While one of the foundation's criteria for grant applications was laboratory-based research, another cause headed by Dr. Sara Day earned its consideration and ultimately a special $25,000 Chairman's Award.

The mission of Day -- from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's international outreach division in Memphis, Tenn. -- involves staffing Guatemalan hospitals with trained first-responder nurses for pediatric leukemia patients. Many children there are currently abandoned because existing staff does not know how to treat leukemia patients.

"It is indeed gratifying to fund these three researchers in their quest to eradicate leukemia," Smith said. "This is why we founded When Everyone Survives. These fundings take us to $625,000 in just five funding cycles."

When Everyone Survives was founded by Smith and his family after his 22-year-old son, Wes, succumbed to leukemia in 2005. The foundation's primary purpose is collecting and distributing funds for leukemia research.