James Fund supporting SickKids Foundation
SickKids Foundation

About James Fund

In 2001, the Birrell family started The James Fund For Neuroblastoma Research to raise money for research to find a cure for their son James, who had been diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.  

In the first year, they raised funds for one-year “seed grants”, to test new ideas about Neuroblastoma which had never been explored before.  Those funds were immediately put to use, with a researcher on the job within weeks.  At the end of the year, any promising results were taken to big granting agencies which often funded development of those ideas over the next few years.

Since inception, The James Fund has raised more than $6 Million dollars and continues to help fund the ground-breaking research of Dr. Meredith Irwin, Paediatrician-in-Chief, Department of Paediatrics, Oncologist and Senior Scientist in Cell Biology at SickKids, and Dr. David Kaplan, Senior Scientist in Neurosciences & Mental Health at SickKids. Drs. Irwin and Kaplan have remained in their positions as co-heads of the James Fund Laboratories in Neuroblastoma Research and have pursued several exciting projects, including discovering potential preventative treatments for metastases. The James Fund is also a key supporter in the Kids Cancer Sequencing (KiCS) Program, funding the genetic sequencing of Neuroblastoma patients.

In efforts to support the whole family while a child is undergoing treatment for Neuroblastoma, the James Fund also funds, in part, the Patient Amenities Fund for Neuroblastoma patient families. The Patient Amenities Fund is a source of assistance for families with children living with Neuroblastoma who have limited financial resources and whose child is being cared for by SickKids. For qualifying families, the fund assists with expenses not covered or only partially covered by public health insurance and community resources. These include travel, food, accommodation, medication, and medical equipment.

About Neuroblastoma:
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that begins in the embryonic cells which normally develop into parts of our nervous system. These cells are called neuroblasts. A tumor arising from these cells is called a Neuroblastoma. The cause of Neuroblastoma is not known. We do know it is not hereditary, does not result from injury and is not infectious.
Neuroblastoma is responsible for 8-10% of all childhood cancers. Although it is only the 5th most common cancer in childhood, it is responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths due to cancer in children. Neuroblastoma usually occurs in children under 5. It is the most common tumor in babies under 1 year of age. Although it is rare, Neuroblastoma can occur in older children and adults.
Each year between 50-70 children are diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in Canada. Sixty percent of children diagnosed over the age of 1 have widespread (metastatic) disease at diagnosis.
The prognosis for Neuroblastoma depends on the age of the child and the stage of the disease at diagnosis. The younger the child is at diagnosis the greater the chance for cure is. If there is no sign of disease recurrence 5 years after diagnosis the chances are very good that the child has been cured.
The current 5 year survival rate after bone marrow transplant for children with neuroblastoma is 20-25%.


Starts at:  December 6, 2019 6:00 PM
Ends at:  December 6, 2019 6:00 PM