September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and all 58 Kneaders Bakery & Café locations throughout the nation will sell elephant-shaped sugar cookies and "Hope Fights Childhood Cancer" campaign-themed retail items to benefit the groundbreaking work of Dr. Joshua Schiffman, world-renowned oncologist, hematologist, teen cancer survivor and respected cancer researcher.
Schiffman's team has been exploring a cancer-fighting elephant protein called p53, which helps protect elephants from developing cancer. Humans only have two copies of p53, and some children that get cancer only have one copy of p53 in their DNA. Since announcing the discovery of the elephant p53 protein, Dr. Schiffman and his research team have been working around the clock to bring the discovery to human trial.
One-hundred percent of the Kneaders' elephant-shaped sugar-cookie sales, and a portion of the retail items sold both online and in-store, will be donated to Dr. Schiffman and his team at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), helping to further exploration into what role the elephant gene might play in the fight to end childhood cancer. Every day, 43 kids are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, and more than 40,000 children are in active cancer treatment each year. In the last 20 years, only three cancer medications have been specifically approved for children. Sadly, 1 out of 8 children will not survive their cancer diagnosis.
Inspired by Kneaders founder's grandson, Tanner Smith, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma as a teenager, Kneaders raised approximately $145,000 for Dr. Schiffman's research through sales of their elephant-shaped sugar cookie in 2016. Kneaders' initial donation helped researchers at the Schiffman lab, located at HCI, start exploring how to synthesize the elephant gene and give it to cancer cells, which could lead to an even greater understanding of how it might impact the fight to end cancer for people of all ages.
"We know that cancer is something that many of our customers and employees face every day, and we appreciate their involvement in supporting this very special campaign. A little hope can make a big difference," says James Worthington, CEO, Kneaders Bakery & Café.
"This campaign does more than just sell delicious cookies," said Dr. Schiffman. "I am one of many researchers at HCI working fervently to find an end to cancer. With the incredible support of Kneaders and their customers, my team and I have been able to take a huge step forward for the thousands of families each year that are informed that their child has cancer."