About the Jake Wetchler Foundation
The foundation is named in honor of our son, Jake Wetchler, who beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 18 but then lost his life to leukemia at age 20 after a heroic fight that defies description.
Jake would often say to us, “Don’t let the cancer win.” As a martial artist and philosopher, Jake used that phrase to say that we could choose our attitude and actions, whether to be overwhelmed by cancer and let it destroy our spirit or to fight back as he did. Jake always chose to be upbeat and defiant in the face of cancer. We, too, have choices to make, and we have chosen to continue the fight in Jake’s spirit.
Jake considered cancer not just a disease but an injustice. He wanted to see that other kids would never have to go through what he did and asked that we donate his savings to research.
With Jake’s desires in mind, we established the Jake Wetchler Foundation for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research. Our goal is to achieve breakthrough advances in the treatment of high risk pediatric cancers through the funding of innovative research projects.
The Jake Wetchler Foundation works with a group of creative researchers, smart and capable leaders, energetic volunteers, and personally committed donors who together bring an indomitable spirit to the fight against pediatric cancer.
Here is why the Jake Wetchler Foundation is unique…
We focus on high risk pediatric cancers. Science has achieved remarkable success in the treatment of certain diseases such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), where overall survival rates have reached as high as 85%. However, other cancers such as particular forms of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), neuroblastoma, sarcomas, and brain cancers remain stubbornly resistant to treatment. Our goal is to help researchers to solve the puzzles of these more difficult and complex diseases, with the ultimate aim of developing low-toxicity treatments so that all young cancer patients have the chance to live long and full lives.
We function as an innovation incubator, providing “seed grants” for leading edge ideas that would otherwise be difficult for scientists to fund. Like the startup funding that entrepreneurs need to get a new business rolling, our grants will help scientists to conduct experiments that establish an initial proof of concept. The projects we fund will be based on well-conceived, important research questions posed by respected researchers but that challenge the boundaries of established thinking and explore new frontiers of science and technology. We are here to give novel ideas a start.
Jake was an indomitable fighter. If cancer could be beaten by strength and spirit alone, he would be here today. Tragically, that is not the case; Jake and his doctors needed more effective medical treatments than are available today, even at the best hospitals in the country. Research projects than can dramatically change the odds for young people like Jake need our funding to get started. Please help us to continue Jake’s fight so that other kids battling cancer can have a better chance to enjoy their futures and fulfill their promise.
Jean Singer and Jon Wetchler, Jake’s Mom and Dad