The entire purpose of this website and my campaign is to raise funds and
awareness.  So, just what am I interested in raising funds for?  The answer is
not quite as simple as you might think.  

At first, my goal was purely to raise money for research.  At heart, I believe it
still is.  However, the question of research dollars is not as cut and dry as I
would wish.  Part of raising research money is raising awareness.  If people
don't know why money is necessary, then they don't know why its important to

While I may be on a personal campaign to "get the word out", I am, after all,
only one overweight, over-eager, overly deluded mom.  I'm going to do my
level best to make sure I make a nuisance of myself, but I still won't reach a
smidgen of the people I need to.  To affect real change, I need to reach
millions of hearts, and those hearts need to band together to form an ocean of

There is also the small matter of my own family.  My cancer child continues to
require significant medical interventions, my infant son is a powerhouse of
"Need", and my other two children have oodles of time and attention debts
owed them due to events beyond their control.  With these limitations in mind,
I gladly hand the responsibility of collecting money, organizing political coos,
and administrating research dollars over to the experts.  

Below you will find links and short explanations of several pediatric cancer
charities.  This should get you started.  These are the creme of the crop as far
as productivity and advocacy for our children.  I choose to not recommend
one over the other for one simple fact...I'm not you.  

It is my belief that within each of us, there is a hidden angel.  We have to
embrace that part of ourselves to become fully aware of our humanity.  One of
the best ways of doing so, is to find a cause you believe in, hold it close to
your heart, and work for it with the commitment and fervor we afford much
lesser tasks.  I cannot choose your heart-wish for you.  I can introduce you to
My Kids, I can help you walk a few steps in our shoes, I can welcome you to my
struggle, and finally...I can open a few doors for you to investigate.  Which
door you choose to walk through and dwell within, is your choice alone.  

Maybe you feel you can help better by joining a smaller, local charity that feeds
into a larger national one?  Maybe, you think research is too impersonal and
you want to donate to a "relief" group that provides respite for cancer
families?  Or maybe, your heart already belongs to another cause, and you can
only briefly light here and wish us well.   Only you can find the magic key to
open your heart.  All I am doing is asking you to consider even looking for the

For me, research dollars scream for my attention.  Don't get me wrong, we
partake in several activities for pediatric cancer families, and are
grateful for
the sanity breaks they allow us.  Special people all over this country reach out
every day to improve the lives of children undergoing torturous treatments
that most adults cannot imagine.  I applaud them, I support them, I adore them.  
But here, I will highlight research and awareness organizations.  They are the
music that makes my own heart dance.  

Please check out their websites, their statistics, their missions.  If you find one
that speaks to you, you're ready to embrace the final step in my Fat-A-Thon!

-   Alicia Hall
How to choose your charity for the Fat-A-Thon
One child lost is too many,
One child saved...
Can change the World.
Alicia Hall
Avalon Havan,
my daughter, my hero
Click on the name above - it will take you to their website

CureSearch unites the Children's Oncology Group (COG) and the National Childhood
Cancer Foundation (NCCF) through a shared mission to cure and prevent childhood and
adolescent cancer through scientific discovery and compassionate care.

At more than 200 COG member institutions worldwide, our dedicated physicians, nurses
and scientists are conducting clinical trials and performing research to identify cancer
causes and pioneer treatments and cures. CureSearch NCCF supports this lifesaving
research by raising public awareness and funds through awareness, legislative and
fundraising programs, which directly contribute to increasing survival rates.

CureSearch is the exclusive fundraising arm for the COG.  COG hospitals work
collaboratively.  Research is shared with all hospitals within the COG.  Therefore when
donating to CureSearch; you are not only helping kids in your hometown, you are helping
thousands of others across the country.

Research, Advocacy, Information Disbursement
Click on the name above - it will take you to their website

Candlelighters' mission is to provide information and awareness for children and
adolescents with cancer and their families, to advocate for their needs, and to support
research so every child survives and leads a long and healthy life.

The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation National Office was founded in 1970 by
concerned parents of children with cancer. Today, their membership includes:
Parents of children who are being treated or have been treated for cancer
Children with cancer
Survivors of childhood cancer
Immediate or extended family members
Bereaved families
Health care professionals

Advocacy, Information Disbursement
Click on the name above - it will take you to their website

Hope Street Kids is a children's initiative of the Cancer Research and Prevention

The mission of Hope Street Kids is to eliminate childhood cancer through pioneering
research, advocacy and education.

Hope Street Kids envisions a world without childhood cancer. To achieve this goal, Hope
Street Kids sustains both public and private research efforts through fundraising initiatives,
and provides leadership in advocating new and innovative research investigations. Hope
Street Kids is dedicated to translating the latest scientific breakthroughs into effective
treatment and prevention strategies to improve the quality of life for all children.

Research is primary, Advocacy, Information Disbursement
Why don't I see St. Jude's?  Don't they treat all cancer kids?  
I saw their fancy commercial and sent money last Christmas.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has an amazing public relations department.  Their
hospital name has become synonymous in public opinion with the words Pediatric Cancer.  
While St. Jude does accomplish great things, the fact is that St. Jude is an entity unto itself.  
St. Jude is affiliated with the hundreds of hospitals that CureSearch and the Children's
Oncology Group work with, but the money they raise through their campaigns (such as the
Christmas commercial) stays at St. Jude's - they do not share it with the other COG
I do not disagree or diminish that St. Jude is often responsible for cutting edge research.  
But ultimately, I choose to support the organizations that service over 200 hospitals
worldwide.  My daughter is treated at a COG (Children's Oncology Group) hospital and I
appreciate the cooperation and support these institutions offer each other.  

But please, don't take my word on it.  Below you will find two links from the Candlelighters
website.  Candlelighters is non-biased - they just provide information.  They have no
affiliation with any particular entities.  I have provided the links so you can verify what I have  
cut-and-pasted below.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is known around the world for the treatment of
pediatric cancers. They offer clinical studies for most pediatric cancers, and they lead the
world in cure rates for ALL Leukemia. All patients accepted for treatment at St. Jude are
treated without regard to the family's ability to pay. Visit their web site for more information.

Candlelighter link for this information:                                                             

COG Treatment Centers

The childhood cancer research and treatment centers of the Children’s Oncology Group
(COG) are located at the most prestigious medical institutions in the world. The 5,000 or
more pediatric oncology specialists of COG conduct collaborative research, working
efficiently and cost-effectively as they share their goals and results. Because of these
cooperative methods, children with cancer are assured of state-of-the-art care, no matter
where they live, as long as they are cared for by members of the COG network.

Candlelighter link for this information: