It is with great excitement that we announce the date for the 3rd Annual Gold Gala benefiting Layla’s Legacy. Please mark your calendars for a special evening on September 19, 2020!
SAVE THE DATE FOR 2020!
Layla’s Legacy is committed to raising funds for innovative pediatric brain cancer research while bringing help and hope to families impacted by the disease. Our goal is to bring together DFW businesses with the common goal of building a legacy of funding the research that will one day eliminate the need for parents to hear “There’s nothing more we can do,” and we believe this legacy begins with you.
Join us for an evening of dinner, dancing, and fun while learning more about how your contribution is making an impact locally and across the state. It will surely be a magical evening honoring Layla and the legacy we are all continuing in her memory.
Thank you to all of our 2019 sponsors!
I’ve often sat and wondered “How could we get everyone to donate their Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts/[insert favorite coffee joint here] money for a month?
It would be an impossible task
First off, I’m a coffee addict myself, so asking me to give it up is just ridiculous – BUT what if there was a way to make that coffee purchase have an impact anyway? I’m listening…
Enter the Round Up app
The Round Up App has created a super simple way to donate your change from any purchase and donate that to your favorite nonprofit. The Round Up App allows you to automatically donate the change from your credit or debit card transactions. Once you create an account, you do not need to use the app while making a purchase. Just swipe your card as usual.
Getting started is easy:
- Pick a card to make the monthly donation from
- Link any other cards and accounts you want it to scan for purchases to round up.
You can even set monthly minimums and maximums if you have specific fundraising goals.
These donations provide revenue that is predictable and essential to our day-to-day operations. It actually allows us to spend less time focused on fundraising and more time thinking about the BIGGER impact we can make on families impacted by pediatric brain cancer.
Small change – Big impact!
Layla’s Legacy has set a goal of having 100 people sign up within the first 30 days – sound crazy? Well, we did the math. If 100 people set a maximum donation of $25/month, that’s $30,000/year. That would be 30 families we could help with living expenses or a research grant that could make a difference in finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer! That little bit of change can go a long way!
Would you rather donate directly? You can set up a reoccurring donation through our online system.
It’s estimated that over 16,000 children under the age of 19 will be diagnosed with childhood cancer each year. And that number keeps rising. Based on those statistics, the likelihood of your students knowing someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or being diagnosed themselves is high.
Students have the ability to drive BIG change when they feel connected and engaged to a cause. What better cause than one that directly impacts their peers? More than ever this younger generation is aware that the world is bigger than just them and they have a unique opportunity to be involved in a movement that will forever change the lives of families around the world. And so do you!
Let Layla’s Legacy partner with your school and help you plan a Gold Out week this September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Contact us for more details.
When your child is diagnosed with cancer, one of the first thoughts that enters your mind is HOW?
It wasn’t you
It’s a conversation you’ll have with yourself and with others many times, but I want to assure you – YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. There was not a choice you made (or didn’t make) that led to this awful circumstance.
They didn’t get cancer because…
When you haven’t had the experience of walking through cancer with your own child, it’s easy to make guesses or assumptions about the causes of cancer. Once you become part of a community of families in the same situation, you quickly see there is no rhyme or reason to these diseases. Your child did not get cancer because:
- You did or didn’t vaccinate
- You did or didn’t breastfeed
- You did or didn’t feed them all organic foods
- You did or didn’t give them antibiotics
I hope you see where I’m going with this. Unlike adult cancers which can sometimes be linked to environmental factors or lifestyle choices such as smoking, childhood cancers are NOT the same. Childhood cancers are almost always caused by gene mutations that are not inherited. “We try to emphasize to parents that they did nothing to cause their child’s cancer, and their child did nothing to cause the cancer,” says Tanya Watt, M.D., pediatric oncologist at Children’s Health℠
That can be frightening
The thought that you really can’t control whether or not your child gets cancer is frightening for parents, but there is something you can do. Become an advocate and part of the fight for a cure. If it’s something your child never needs, consider yourselves lucky, but don’t wait until it’s personal to get involved.
This post was originally published on Child Life Mommy https://childlifemommy.com/2019/03/04/creating-a-legacy-for-your-child/
Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s why when someone learns you’ve lost a child, their first response is typically “I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.” Truly, they can’t because our brains aren’t wired that way. Sigmund Freud once said that people run towards pleasure and run away from pain. Thank you Captain Obvious. What is more painful than imagining the death of your child? In short – nothing.
After the loss, and the funeral is over and the sympathy cards slowly stop coming, parents are faced with something almost as terrible as losing their child – the realization that life is moving on and the fear that people have forgotten their child existed. You wake up one morning, look outside, and see the cars going by. The neighbors across the street are waving goodbye to their kids as they leave for school and the woman on the local news is laughing at some funny story about a dog that sings. What is happening?
I vividly remember those feelings when I lost my daughter to pediatric brain cancer in 2017. She was only five years old. We had spent 14-months battling the disease that ultimately took her life and were constantly surrounded by supporters. Then came the day that life began to move forward and I was not prepared for that. In my grief, I was determined to make sure her life mattered far beyond the 1,877 days she lived. And so, I started Layla’s Legacy Foundation to fund research for pediatric brain cancer and support families with children battling the disease.
Starting a foundation may not be feasible, or even the goal, for all parents grieving the loss of a child, but the desire to establish a legacy for the child is felt by many. Whether the purpose is to educate others, give back to a community or establish a long-term mission, creating a way to help others in the name of your child can play a vital role in the healing process as well.
Fundraisers – One of the easiest ways to begin is simply by raising money for a cause connected with the child’s death. There are a vast number of foundations already in existence and all it takes is a little research to find the one that is right for you. My biggest piece of advice here is to make sure the money raised is going towards what you intend. You might even consider partnering with a smaller or new foundation that shares your goal.
If you are raising money for a specific cause, social media is your new best friend. Facebook provides an excellent service with Facebook Fundraisers which make it easy to share with friends and relatives. Encourage those who support you to host a Facebook Fundraiser for their birthday or special occasion. This broadens your reach to their community which will grow your mission.
Events – Another easy way to establish a legacy for your child is with an event you host each year. It can be big or small and anything from a toy drive to a large gala or fun run. What’s important is that you have the opportunity to connect the community with your child’s life and story. If your child was school-age, I suggest engaging their school. Part of educating our children is helping them see that it’s important to give back to others and kids have a remarkable gift for empathy. They love to identify with a cause related to their peers.
The school our daughter attended hosts a toy drive each year around Christmas. It’s organized by the Boy Scouts as a service project which is great because my husband and I don’t have to be in charge.
Memorial Fund – A memorial fund is different from fundraising in that it’s an ongoing opportunity for people to give. You can establish many different uses for the money like a yearly scholarship, a project in your community or a reoccurring gift to a hospital or facility. Again, this is easy to share with others and ask for donations in lieu of gifts for any occasion. You can set up your own from the beginning or look into foundations that provide this service as part of their mission.
They Are Not Forgotten
More than anything else, I want you to know that your child is not forgotten. Even if the world seems to be moving on without you, your child lives in the hearts of many. Giving yourself the opportunity to connect with their memory regularly can be a tremendous help in the grieving and healing process. There are times it feels painful, but pain is part of the life we now carry and a step towards peace. Remember that you don’t have to carry it alone.
Science is so cool! Really, it’s the scientists that are amazing – who takes a look at a scorpion and thinks, “I bet I can do something with that venom”? I’m sure it doesn’t happen in exactly that way, but still…
Scientists at Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center did just that. By linking a peptide (mini-protein) from the Israeli deathstalker scorpion to a “molecular flashlight,” they created the first Tumor Paint and in 2007. This “paint” clearly distinguishes the cancer tissues from normal tissue, and in the world of brain surgery, it’s a game changer.
Why it matters
This video tells the story in a way that words can’t. Please take 3 minutes and watch it.
During the State of the Union address on February 5, 2019, President Trump announced that $500 million dollars over the next 10 years will be allocated to childhood cancer research. Cue the applause. Seriously, though, that’s not sarcasm. I am over the moon that the president mentioned those words on the platform that he did. It’s about dang time.
Still, the childhood cancer community is not all on the same page and dancing in the streets and there are plenty of reasons why. There is the one side that says “Hey, progress is progress! We have to start somewhere.” And then the other side that says “It’s not enough!” The truth is, neither side is wrong. It IS progress and every movement starts with a step in the right direction. When you do the math, though, it still feels small for those of us who pour so much of our lives into this cause.
The National Institutes of Health is projected to spend $462 million in 2019 on childhood cancer research, compared to $433 million in 2017 and $486 million in 2018. An addition of $50 million a year would mean roughly a 10 percent increase. This is a big deal to scientists who have had a hard time getting funded in the past. You see, grants are awarded on a priority scale, and since technically, childhood cancer has a higher cure rate, it doesn’t get the same priority as some adult cancers.
Cure rates are deceiving
“But wait,” you say. “Aren’t we fighting for funding because kids are dying? I thought you just said childhood cancer has a high cure rate?” Ah, there’s the rub. You see, there have been tremendous advancements in the treating childhood leukemia, but cure rates for other pediatric cancers, like brain cancer, have remained unchanged.
What makes brain cancer different
Our brains are protected by a protective layer called the blood-brain barrier. It prevents viruses and toxins in the bloodstream from harming the brain, but it also makes it difficult for most chemotherapies to have an effect on the cancer cells they need to destroy. This is why radiation has been seen as the most effective form of treatment for brain tumors, but with it come extensive and long-term side effects. For a child with a still-developing brain, this is particularly devastating. Cognitive impairment, loss of motor skills and loss of speech are only a few side effects that children will face with today’s traditional brain cancer treatments.
Kids and adults are different
It goes without saying that kids and adults are different, even down to the genetic makeup of their cancers. In a study published by St. Jude last year, it was reported that about half the driver mutations in childhood cancers – those things responsible for the rapid growth of cancer – aren’t seen in adults. This is why the idea that we can use adult treatments for kids is false. Pediatric cancers have to be studied independently and THAT’S WHY WE NEED THE FUNDING.
Thank you, President Trump, for taking a step forward and continuing the effort starting with the Obama administration and Cancer Moonshot. Progress should always be applauded or else it will not continue. I know our foundation and others like us will keep working towards more because losing one child is one too many.
It started with an assignment
7-year-old Lucas Martin came home from school one afternoon and told his mom he needed to gather up his change for a school fundraiser. The school was hosting a “change-drive” for a well-known, very large, cancer foundation. While Lucas and his mom were gathering his change from his “Give” money, he began to ask questions about what non-profits do and where his money would be going.
Mary, Lucas’s mom, just happens to work in the non-profit sector as a marketing consultant and jumped at the opportunity to give her son a peek into her world. They looked up this particular non-profit on the internet to learn a little more. Lucas liked the idea that his money would be going to help people who were sick, but he was disappointed to know how much of it also went to pay for marketing and salaries for executives.
As adults, we understand how a business is run, and yes, non-profits are very much businesses with expenses and operating costs. That concept is much harder to grasp for a child. Heck, let’s face it, we don’t like it as adults either. We want our money to go directly to the cause, right?
Mary had a solution to her son’s dilemma. She told him about her friend’s non-profit called Layla’s Legacy. “Layla’s Legacy gives money directly to families who need it and to the people doing research to make better medicines for cancer. Would you like to give your money them instead?” Yes! Lucas was in! The next Saturday afternoon, Lucas and Mary came to our house and he presented me with his donation. It was awesome to see his excitement and connection to what he was doing! What an amazing young man he is!
He wanted to take it a step further, though. Lucas wrote his teacher a letter, telling her what he learned about non-profits and why he chose to give his money to another foundation. The idea was passed along to the parent-run committee, so perhaps, next year Lucas’s idea of picking a local non-profit will come to fruition!
Kids Can Do It!
One thing that has surprised more than anything else since starting Layla’s Legacy, is the amount of support and heart kids have for kids’ causes. Too often we sell them short, thinking they can’t understand or grasp the concept, but children have an innate sense of empathy for others that we lose as adults. Their hearts are soft.
As part of our advocacy program to bring attention to the lack of government funding for childhood cancer, we have started an initiative called Gold Out. Each September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness month, we are challenging schools at all levels to “Go Gold” for Childhood Cancer. This can be anything from hosting a Gold Out football game, as our school Prince of Peace Christian School did last year, to hosting book drives in an elementary school.
Here are a few other ways schools can Go Gold for Childhood Cancer:
- gold school t-shirt fundraiser
- change/penny drives
- Gold Out games (junior high and high school)
- book drives for your local children’s hospital
- toy drives/gift card drive
- card writing campaign for kids in the hospital
Need even more ideas? Check out our post on 10 ways to get kids involved in fundraising.
Layla’s Legacy would love to talk to your school and community about becoming a partner in advocacy! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.