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 recognizes 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 can live their lives and fulfill their promise.

One of our goals is to shine a spotlight on pediatrics, encouraging scientists to focus their attention on cancers that strike children and young adults. The award is $5,000 with no restrictions on its use and provides our awardees with additional support in their professional or personal lives so they can continue to pursue their innovative ideas. 

Click on the links below to read about how each of these researchers is working with leading edge science and technology to find better and safer treatments for children. 

2018 Award Recipient: Challice L. Bonifant, MD, PhD, University of Michigan

2017 Award Recipient: Amanda Balboni Iniguez, PhD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute

2016 Award Recipient: Mark W. Zimmerman, PhD, Dana Farber Cancer Institute