Eli the Eliminator
12.03.2004 - 08.05.2017
Eli, “The Eliminator,” fought medulloblastoma, including three relapses, for almost six years, starting when he turned seven years old in 2011. There is no cure or standard treatment for relapse.
During his journey, he had had six brain surgeries, two rounds of blanket radiation, survived two-plus years of two different protocols of high-dose chemotherapy, two years of participating in four experimental trials. He battled back from sickness and debilitating symptoms from those treatments and surgeries. He endured countless blood draws, weeks of hospital stays, hundreds of scans, countless transfusions, countless doctor appointments, traveled thousands of miles to and from hospitals, was sent home for hospice care three times, until the fourth and final time.
Eli passed away at 12 years old on August 5, 2017. Even with this horrific history, Eli’s road was relatively easy compared to most cancer kids in the same situation. As a pioneer in pediatric cancer research, Eli donated tumor tissue, fluid samples, plus vital data was collected through his participation that will change the landscape of treatment for other kids. For this reason, the family feels blessed and is honored to have an opportunity to pick up Eli's flag and continue to support research.
Our Events and Mission
With only energy and the desire to do good, Eli’s Block Party Childhood Cancer Foundation formed with the mission of supporting innovative research. Family and friends in the community responded generously to the Foundation and joined in. The organization intends to raise funds for childhood cancer, mostly seeking out doctors and labs that research innovative treatments for pediatric brain cancer.
To raise funds, the Foundation gives back to its community by hosting family fun events that focus on childhood cancer and raising awareness. In memory of Eli, we host car shows, and in honor of all childhood cancer fighters, we host Superhero Day as an awareness event for September, childhood cancer month. Throughout the year, we are involved with other fundraising events and activities as opportunities arise.
Additionally, we support and encourage cancer families by inviting their participation in events. The organization engages the charitable hearts of community clubs, schools, church groups, and individuals by offering various levels of opportunities to participate and be a part of our mission.
About the Money
Dr. Greg Friedman at Children's of Alabama
The cure is in research, so our mission is, first, to raise money for research. We put money directly in the hand that holds the microscope so that we get a bigger bang for our charity buck. Eli’s Block Party Childhood Cancer Foundation supports the cutting-edge research being done by Dr. Gregory Friedman, Director of Developmental Therapeutics, at Children's of Alabama
Dr. Friedman's overarching goal is to improve outcomes for children with malignant brain tumors by developing and improving novel, targeted therapies in the lab and then translating these therapies to clinical trials.
Currently, Dr. Friedman is the principal investigator for the first-ever pediatric trial of HSV G207 in children with recurrent or progressive brain cancers (Clinical Trial: HSV G207). For this trial, the Herpes virus (HSV), which typically causes cold sores, has been engineered to be safe for normal cells but can infect and kill cancer cells and stimulate the patient’s own immune system to attack the tumor providing a one-two punch at killing tumor cells. To maximize the benefit of this therapy, his lab focuses on determining mechanisms of therapeutic resistance by exploring the role of tumor genotype, phenotype, and microenvironment; and cellular defense mechanisms so that newer viruses, novel combinations, and unique routes of virus delivery may be developed to circumvent resistance mechanisms. Please, take a minute to listen to this short interview about Dr. Friedman's work.
Leadership and Organization
We are "headquartered" in Athens, Alabama, but have no building or physical location. We exist mostly on the internet and social media with our events being held at venues in Athens, Alabama.
Our Board members are Kristie Williams, who serves as the Board Chair and Foundation Director; Jennifer Fortenberry, Board Treasurer and Foundation Financial Director; Wendy Yeager, Board Secretary. We enjoy the input and participation of an Advisory Committee, the members of which fill leadership roles in our efforts. The committee includes Jerry Bryant, Naomi Flanagan, Jennifer Barnes, Gina Ridenour, Angie Olree, and Brian May.
We are an all-volunteer 501c3. We raise money all year and make a donation at the end of the year to our advertised beneficiary. Traditionally, we hold $1500 for the next year's expenses and put $1000 in a savings account to help families in our community who lose a child to cancer. Our business expenses range from about $1000 to $1500 a year and include a storage unit rental and business/internet fees. After our bills are paid, we empty our coffers for one donation to the advertised physician and lab.
Below is a record of our previous annual donations:
2015 -- $15,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
2016 -- $12,500 to Children's Oncology Group
2017 -- $20,000 to Dr. Ted Johnson at Children's of Georgia
2018 -- $25,000 to Dr. Ted Johnson at Children's of Georgia
2019 -- $20,000 to Dr. Greg Friedman at Children's of Alabama
2020 -- $18,500 to Dr. Greg Friedman at Children's of Alabama
2021 -- $28,000 to Dr. Greg Friedman at Children's of Alabama