This past Sunday, 10,000 individuals from across the globe gathered for one purpose – to find and fund a cure for brain cancer. Together they raised $2 million to benefit Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2)and the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) at the historic Race for Hope - DC. For nearly 20 years, Race for Hope has raised more than $27 million for brain tumor research and honored those affected by the disease.
The need to do so is more urgent than ever – there are almost 700,000 people living with a primary brain tumor diagnosis in the U.S. and within the next year, more than 210,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor.
This year, Vice President Joe Biden and his family were in attendance at the event where they received the Rabbi Joseph P. Weinberg Triumph of Spirit Award in memory of his son Beau Biden, who passed away from brain cancer in 2015. The award honors their dedication and commitment to advocating for the National Cancer Moonshot initiative to end cancer as we know it. He shared with attendees that the brain cancer research field is changing exponentially and the U.S. is investing billions of dollars in cancer research to find a cure. He encouraged all attendees to “Keep running [and] keep the faith. There is hope.”
At the beginning of the race, a Survivor Tribute featured more than 350 brain tumor survivors – such as 13 year old brain cancer champion Nitin Ramachandran (pictured with Vice President Biden right) – who marched together towards the starting line as a symbol of hope and strength in their fight against brain tumors. Among the participating survivors was: Julie Frank, a cancer researcher, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2008 while in graduate school at George Washington University; and one the most inspirational women you’ll ever meet, BethAnn Telford, an Ironwoman and brain cancer champion who has raised nearly $1,000,000 for ABC2. Next up for Telford is the 2017 World Marathon Challenge, where she will run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days to benefit ABC2.
Attendees also paid tribute to those we have lost to brain cancer, including Dana Daczkowski who was the younger sister of ABC2’s own Nike Beddow, and a co-founder of the Race for Hope along with her sister, and Pamela Sue, the daughter of Race for Hope co-founders Lionel and Sandy Chaiken; and Rabbi Joseph P. Weinberg, who was the beloved husband to Marcia Weinberg and father to ABC2 Board Member Jonathan Weinberg, founders of the Triumph of the Spirit Award.
Once again, David Cook, previous American Idol® winner and Honorary Chair of the Race for Hope – DC, brought his Team for A Cure back this year and raised more than $92,000. David and his team participate in memory of his brother Adam. As an ABC2 Ambassador, David is a champion for the cause throughout the year.
The Weekend of Hope kicked off last Friday with the On Course for Hope golf tourney hosted by Barbara Mattox in memory of her husband Bill. On Saturday, David Cook performed for his team at the Clarendon Ballroom. Another highlight of the race on Sunday was the Wall of Hope which featured the faces and stories of brain cancer survivors and those who have lost their lives to this disease. The Wall of Hope was created by the Roth family in memory of Jeffrey Roth. The race also coincided with the first day of Brain Tumor Awareness Month.
The success of the race depends on support of our generous corporate sponsors, including race title sponsor, Cushman & Wakefield. And the race would not exist without our dedicated volunteer race committee and hundreds of race day volunteers led by our Volunteer Chairwoman Margaret Welsh.
This year, the Case Foundation once again gathered a team in honor of Dan Case. In 2001, Dan Case was diagnosed with brain cancer. Discouraged by a lack of information and limited treatment options, Dan, along with his wife, Stacey, his brother Steve, and Steve’s wife Jean, founded ABC2.
Every day at ABC2, Dan inspires us. Throughout his fight with brain cancer, Dan remained determined. He was never afraid of finding new approaches or taking risks, and neither are we. We are relentless in our search for the critical brain cancer breakthroughs that will lead to a cure. We drive cutting-edge research and treatments for brain tumors and have awarded more than 100 grants totaling $20 million in brain tumor research. The dollars raised at the Race will fund research that would not move forward without our help. But the impact of this race goes way beyond research dollars, it brings immeasurable support, hope and strength to patients and their families.