LOS ANGELES, Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ruby Spencer, a six-year-old girl battling leukemia, will be one of five kids to "Take the Field" at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon to kick off the beginning of ThinkCure! Weekend, an annual program of events that celebrates cancer survivors and helps raise money for life-saving research at City of Hope and Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
With the help of ThinkCure!, the official charity of the Dodgers, the two hospitals are collaborating to better understand and treat cancers to benefit Ruby and others like her battling the disease. As the result of generous donations and the proceeds from the past four ThinkCure! Weekends, the organization has provided $1.84 million in research grants to City of Hope and Children's Hospital Los Angeles since 2009.
The 2012 ThinkCure! Weekend will take place during the Dodgers' homestand on Sunday, September 2nd and Monday, September 3rd. The Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday and the San Diego Padres at 5:10 p.m. on Monday.
The weekend's fundraising events will center around a two-day telethon and text-to-donate program. Fans, both in Dodger Stadium and at home, can participate by calling (855) 424-4056 to donate, or texting CURE to 50555 to make a $10 donation through their mobile phone bill. Meanwhile, the Dodgers Dream Foundation will host a silent auction at the stadium on Sunday with Dodger memorabilia and volunteers will accept walk-up donations on each level of the stadium during the two games.
The pregame activities on Sunday and Monday will also focus on ThinkCure!'s mission. Several of the doctors and researchers who have received grants from ThinkCure! will simultaneously throw out first pitches. City of Hope and Children's Hospital Los Angeles patients will announce "It's Time for Dodger Baseball!," take the field to get the autographs of their favorite players and serve as the honorary bat kids for each game. Check presentations by some of the organization's top fundraisers, including YAS Fitness Center founder Kimberly Fowler, LA Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, will total more than $200,000.
"I am honored and grateful to be involved in another ThinkCure! Weekend at Dodger Stadium, because we are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research, and because I am a long-time Dodger fan," said Stephen J. Forman, M.D., chair, Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope. "The partnership between the Dodgers and our hospitals is a natural one - we take care of people who also are Dodger fans. The support we receive during ThinkCure! Weekend directly benefits the research to develop therapies that turn into treatments and cures for our patients," added Forman.
ThinkCure! funding already has resulted in groundbreaking collaborative studies. City of Hope and Children's Hospital Los Angeles recently made a breakthrough finding about the growth and spread of neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue. This initial research led to a federal grant from the National Cancer Institute that will extend the investigation even further.
"We are excited to be back at Dodger Stadium for ThinkCure! Weekend, which is such a great opportunity for Dodger fans and the wider community to learn about and support an effective nonprofit organization," said Stuart Siegel, M.D., director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "ThinkCure! plays an important role in our work by funding the pilot studies that can lead to significant discoveries. We are thankful for the organization's ongoing support and commitment that provides real hope for children and adults with cancer."
ThinkCure! is an innovative, community-based nonprofit organization that raises funds to accelerate collaborative research to cure cancer. The organization aims to find the cure for cancers by funding innovative research projects at City of Hope and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. We do this by convening an objective, peer-based panel of expert doctors; awarding two-year grant applications once every year; and giving to the most promising collaborative and cutting edge cancer research projects that can involve other top cancer research hospitals. For more information, please visit www.thinkcure.org.
About City of Hope
City of Hope is a leading research, treatment and education center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest honor bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope's research and treatment protocols advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, and is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S.News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics. For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org or follow City of Hope on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr.
About Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children's hospital in California and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children's Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children's Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
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