The Damon Runyon - Jake Wetchler Award for Pediatric Innovation

The Jake Wetchler Foundation has partnered with the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation to recognize innovative researchers in the fight against pediatric cancer. The Damon Runyon-Jake Wetchler Award for Pediatric Innovation will be given annually to a third-year Damon Runyon Fellow whose research has the greatest potential to impact the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of one or more forms of pediatric cancer.

The Award is made in memory of Jake Wetchler, a young man who fought with indomitable spirit against two cancers. At age 18, Jake was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and beat the cancer into remission. But the chemotherapy he received gave him a second cancer, and with few effective treatments available, he lost his life to acute myeloid leukemia. Jake never let down in his fight against cancer, living with a powerful will and lively wit, and while cancer killed Jake it never defeated him.

This Award in Jake’s honor is intended to recognize scientists whose research helps to fight back against pediatric cancer, and whose innovative ideas and hard work may one day lead to cures so that young people like Jake are not taken from us and instead can live their lives and fulfill their promise. It is a $5,000 award with no restrictions on its use.

The recipient of the first Award is Dr. Mark Zimmerman, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Read here about Dr. Zimmerman and what inspired him to take on high risk neuroblastoma, a cancer that strikes very young children.

In this video, Jake's mom, Jean Singer, and Mark Zimmerman talk about what the reward means to them.