The St. Baldrick’s Foundation announced its 2020 grant recipients this week, and Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center is the only South Carolina health organization to make the list.

Despite a difficult fundraising year, St. Baldrick's awarded 17 new infrastructure grants totaling more than $819,000 to allow institutions across the country to move life-saving research forward. These one-year grants are focused on giving institutions the ability to open, coordinate, and treat more young patients on clinical trials closer to where they live.

Bon Secours will use its $50,000 grant to fund a full-time clinical research nurse coordinator, devoted to patients in its Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Care program. The staff member will help ensure every patient is screened for research trials, which are often their best hope for a cure. 

“By expanding the number of clinical trials St. Francis can offer, we make it easier for patients to stay in the community for treatment rather than traveling out of the area,” said Dr. Hal Crosswell, Director of the AYA program at Bon Secours.
In this time of COVID-19, not having to travel to get cutting-edge treatment is critical to giving patients with cancer their best chance at survival. Clinical trials also offer both those in treatment and survivors the possibility of a better future with fewer side effects. This research helps scientists to improve upon the standard treatments of today, making significant strides towards more effective and less toxic cures.
“Work we do now can achieve benefits that we don’t know exist yet. By understanding treatments and the effects of treatments, we may find different interventions to try to get cancer patients back into the workforce sooner, or provide resources so they wouldn’t lose their jobs, or be able to protect their jobs while they need to take medical leave.”

The one-year infrastructure grants are awarded based on the need of the institution and its patients, anticipated results of the grant and local participation in St. Baldrick’s fundraising events and activities. These grants give institutions the resources they need to do more research.

"We can see that our investment in research is yielding results, but there is so much more to do," said Kathleen Ruddy, St. Baldrick's CEO. "These clinical trials that St. Baldrick's is supporting will help research progress further to help more children survive and have a better quality of life after treatment."

This series of grants brings the St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s funding total to more than $19 million awarded in 2020. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $305 million to support the most promising childhood cancer research, no matter where it takes place.