Relay for Jack! is an 8-hour relay event to take place at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area on May 28, in part to celebrate the work of U.S. Rep. Steve Knight and Jack’s Angels Foundation in House Resolution 586, National DIPG Awareness Week, designated the fourth week of May. DIPG is responsible for roughly 80 percent pediatric brain tumor deaths — the leading cause of cancer-related death in children — annually, and parents hearing with certain regularity that there are no solutions for their child because, “the numbers aren’t great enough for investors.”
Founder of Jack’s Angels Janet Demeter explains, “I work for the day when no family has to hear this.” Along with designating the week, HRes586 calls for more consideration for low survival-rate cancers and years of life lost in grant process with the National Cancer Institute, which currently gives less than 4% of its research budget to pediatrics in general.
Jack’s Angels Foundation of Santa Clarita, CA is hosting the Relay event primarily to raise funds for a research project for DIPG with the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute, or cc-TDI, in conjunction with Oregon Institute of Technology and the oversight of Sunit Rihkit of Intel. “Jack’s 12 Pebbles” involves advanced microchip technology, the latest chemotherapies and algorithmic finesse to begin solving the treatment problems of the heretofore untreatable DIPG. Since 1962 when Neil Armstrong’s daughter died of DIPG, there has been no progress in the standard treatment protocol: radiation and palliative care. “If anyone needs the Moonshot Initiative,” continued Demeter, “it’s our kids with brain cancer. Research for them has been systematically neglected for decades, and families have been expected to accept that their lives aren’t worth saving to the medical research system in place. This is an unacceptable reality that must change.”
Relay for Jack offers three repeatable courses with the same start, timed start beginning at 8 a.m.: Red or long course for distance runners 2.5 miles, blue or short course ½ mi, and yellow course for small children, ¼ mi. “The idea is to provide a way for the community and kids to help their peers with brain cancer. There are several on DIPG death-row right now in California, not far from here,” continued Demeter. The price tag is $75,000 to take the project to the next pre-clinical phase. “Jack’s 12 Pebbles” is named for Jack Demeter of Agua Dulce, CA, who perished to DIPG in 2012. Sponsor information, Registration, and complete Research Project description can be found at www.RelayforJack.org.