Dr. Catherine Bollard has seen the damage that radiation and chemotherapy can do to children fighting cancer. Her childhood best friend passed away after complications from an intense treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Now a physician and researcher at the helm of one of the leading childhood cancer hospitals in the U.S., Dr. Bollard has dedicated her life’s work to protecting children from cancer treatment complications. “It became clear to me that we needed therapies that only kill the cancer cells and not healthy bystander cells," she said.
Dr. Bollard serves as director of the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. She leads research and clinical efforts to fight cancer and other diseases by strengthening a child’s immune system using cell therapy. The hospital is among Amazon’s grant partners in this year’s Amazon Goes Gold campaign, which has donated millions of dollars to support pediatric cancer research worldwide.
Looking back over the last five years, doctors and researchers like Dr. Bollard have been focused on developing new treatments that are better at killing cancer cells with fewer side effects. Among the new targeted therapies is an oral treatment that can reduce injections and, in some cases, remove the need for surgery by shrinking tumors.
Some children undergoing the treatment have experienced fewer side effects than traditional cancer-fighting medicines, and their doctors have been able to reduce the amounts of treatment needed.
Among the young patients benefiting from the new treatment is 3-year-old Wes, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) in January 2021. Wes’ parents worked closely with his cancer team at Children’s National Hospital to understand how a more customized treatment plan would help their son without impacting his level of care.
The recent advancements in cancer treatments make it possible for Wes to endure fewer lumbar punctures and chemotherapy, giving him the chance to just be a kid as he fights cancer—and he especially likes the hospital’s art and music therapy programs.
"We are in awe of how the years of research that preceded our son’s diagnosis made things just a little bit easier for Wes,” said his mother, Kate. “Chemotherapy treatments are difficult but necessary, and so any reduction that doesn’t impact outcomes is a small gift to families who are looking at years of outpatient visits.”
At Amazon, children like Wes inspired us to ask:
What could be achieved in the next five years if we all come together to support pediatric cancer research?
Dr. Bollard is optimistic. With new technologies, oncology teams are able to better explore an individual patient’s cancer cells and determine molecular-level matches for specific treatments. In the coming years, these techniques will be used to treat more patients and to test patient cancer cells for more refined treatments.
"I think that [some] cancers may be treated without chemotherapy or radiation. Immunotherapy will become the standard of care and not a last resort,” said Dr. Bollard, who is also a professor of pediatrics and microbiology, immunology, and tropical medicine at The George Washington University.
Doctors and researchers continuing to improve outcomes, lessen toxicity, and increase survivorship for all children—working toward a day when all children with cancer can receive customized treatment that results in a cure.
Gold ribbons are the international symbol to support children fighting cancer. And for the fifth year, Amazon will “go gold” in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to help raise awareness around pediatric cancer and the groundbreaking research being done in the field.
To honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Amazon is offering three easy ways you can help support pediatric cancer research:
- Use your Alexa-enabled device to make a donation. Just say, “Alexa, make a donation to Children’s Oncology Group,” which is the world’s largest organization exclusively devoted to childhood and adolescent cancer research. You can also say, “Alexa, make a donation to Children’s National Hospital” or any one of our Amazon Goes Gold partners.
- Join a virtual tour of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in September, and we will donate $5 per guest to the International Society of Paediatric Oncology.
- Take a photo with your “gold box,” the gold-colored boxes that will be shipped with millions of Amazon orders in September, and post on social media using the hashtag #AmazonGoesGold to help raise awareness.
Since 2017, Amazon has donated $11 million worldwide to more than 150 pediatric oncology programs. Our teams have shipped more than 100 million gold packages with information about our nonprofit and hospital partners. And thousands of employees, partners, and site teams came to work—virtually and in person—dressed in pajamas to stand in solidarity, because pajamas are the battle uniform throughout treatment and recovery for many young patients.
Inspired by the innovative work of physicians and researchers like Dr. Bollard, Amazon is donating more than $5 million to seven leading cancer research institutions around the world and shipping 20 million “gold boxes” with customer orders this September to raise awareness about pediatric cancer research.
Learn more about this year’s Amazon Goes Gold partners and the incredible work they’re doing to advance the field of childhood cancer research:
Children’s Oncology Group
The Children’s Oncology Group (COG) is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research. The COG unites nearly 10,000 experts in childhood cancer at more than 220 leading children’s hospitals, universities, and cancer centers across North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe in the fight against childhood cancer. The COG has nearly 100 active clinical trials open at any given time. The trials include front-line treatment for many types of childhood cancers, studies aimed at determining the underlying biology of these diseases, and trials involving new and emerging treatments, supportive care, and survivorship.
Today, more than 90% of the 16,000 children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States are cared for at COG member institutions. The COG’s research has turned childhood cancer from a virtually incurable disease 50 years ago to one with a combined five-year survival rate of 80% today.
The organization’s goal is to cure all children and adolescents with cancer, reduce the short- and long-term complications of cancer treatments, and determine the causes to find ways to prevent childhood cancer.
The International Society of Paediatric Oncology
The International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) is a global society of 2,600 doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and scientists who have dedicated their careers to caring for children with cancer and their families. Our members lead research efforts worldwide to make treatments more effective and less toxic to improve survival and quality-of-life. SIOP offers online training courses on new treatments, provides education through its Annual Congresses, promotes research networking, and works jointly with parents and children to improve advocacy.
The European Society of Paediatric Oncology
The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe or SIOPE) is the only pan-European organization representing all professionals working in the field of childhood cancers. With more than 2000 members across 36 European countries, SIOPE is leading the way to ensure the best possible care and outcomes for all children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. To achieve this goal, SIOPE addresses the main challenges faced by European pediatric oncology professionals through a multidisciplinary and pan-European perspective.
Through the integration of research, care, and education, SIOPE and the European community of health professionals address the two goals of the next decade: to increase the cure rate and the quality of cure of children with cancer.
The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is America’s oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated to transforming childhood cancer in the U.S. and around the world. Founded in 1970 by parents of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer, ACCO is committed to shaping state, federal, and international policy; supporting research; raising awareness; and providing educational resources and programs to children with cancer, survivors, and their families.
ACCO continues its 51-year legacy of leadership in the childhood cancer community, including advocacy efforts through their “What About KIDS?” program. Built upon their successful advocacy initiative in Kentucky, “What About KIDS?” works with legislators to transform policy at the state level to overcome the national disparity between adult and childhood cancer research funding.
In the past year alone, through Amazon's support of ACCO's "What About KIDS?" program, ACCO trained advocates and worked with state legislators to appropriate more than $25 million new dollars for childhood cancer research in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Thanks to Amazon’s continued support, ACCO will be expanding that success to eight additional states in the next year.
Childhood cancer remains the number one cause of death by disease in the U.S. and around the world, and since its founding, the American Childhood Cancer Organization is recognized nationally and internationally for making cancer a child health priority.
Children’s National Hospital
Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, D.C., celebrates 150 years of pediatric care, research, and commitment to community. Volunteers opened the hospital in 1870 with 12 beds for children displaced after the Civil War. Today, 150 years stronger, it is among the nation’s Top 10 children’s hospital and No. 1 for newborn care for the fifth straight year. It is ranked in all pediatric specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report, including No. 5 for cancer care. Children’s National is home to some of the world’s leading pediatric cancer experts and provides every child exceptional, compassionate care. Under the leadership of Jeffrey Dome, MD, Ph.D., the hospital ranks in the 97th percentile of clinical trial enrollment among peers in the Children’s Oncology Group. Dr. Dome serves as the Continental President of North America for the International Society of Paediatric Oncology.
Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. In 2021, it opened the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, the first in the nation dedicated to pediatric research. The hospital is home to the Children’s National Research Institute and Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and is the nation’s seventh-highest NIH-funded children’s hospital. It is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional, and national levels.
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is one of the nation's leading children's hospitals, treating and helping to prevent a full range of pediatric health issues from colds and broken bones to complex heart diseases and cancer. Achieving 10 out of 10 nationally ranked pediatric specialties in 2020, Children’s Hospital was again named among the nation’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” for the 14th consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report.
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, a nonprofit, opened in 2004, expanded its physical space in 2012, and recently added four new floors encompassing 160,000 total square feet. The new expansion helps to advance the size and scope of the hospital's mission.
Seattle Children’s Hospital
This isn’t about beating the odds. This is about changing them. Seattle Children’s Hospital fights relentlessly to make sure there’s no such thing as “out of options” and to make sure kids who “didn't have a chance” can have the childhoods they deserve. The Seattle Children’s team is united by a compelling mission: We provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, we deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research and serve as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho—the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country.
Consistently named among the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s is the top-ranked pediatric facility in the Northwest, and Seattle Children’s Cancer Center is one of the top-ranked programs of its kind in the United States, which means your child will be cared for by the very best. With more than 100 open clinical trials for pediatric cancer and five-year survival rates consistently above average, at Seattle Children’s we are improving cancer treatment for all kid-kind.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.
It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food—because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.