Recognizing the low priority and current lack of support, the Summer's way Foundation has as its mission to find a cure for every patient diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma and ultimately other rare childhood cancers, promote early detection, and serve as a support to patients and families impacted by childhood cancer.
The Summer's Way Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization created in memory of Summer Hammond, a remarkable young woman who exuded joy, positivity, and determination. Diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 16, she refused to allow the cancer to define her. She remained forever positive, incredibly strong and strove constantly to be a better person. Her story and how she embraced life proved to be inspirational for those facing adversity, and has had a lasting impact on those who knew her.
The Summer's Way Foundation has started the process of breaking down silos between scientific and clinical researchers. Through its hosting of the Rhabdomyosarcoma workshop 2018, it has had a significant impact nationally and internationally and is proving to be a leader on the topic of Rhabdomyosarcoma. Several major initiatives towards finding a cure for Rhabdo developed during this workshop which the Foundation is actively pursuing. The Foundation has likewise focused on building a coalition of support for research with other foundations and families impacted by Rhabdo. it is hoped that through these efforts, Rhabdo will one day prove survivable. Most recently, it granted the first Young Investigator Award for 2019-2020 to Katie Hebron PhD from NCI/NIH for $50,000, and have initiated our application process for the 2nd young Investigator grant for 2021.
The foundation has likewise initiated support groups among bereaved mothers who have lost a child to cancer or serious medical illness, supported families impacted by child hood cancer the latter through our King Sooper's gift cards distributed duting the recent Covid outbreak and shut down. We sponsored a healing grief through horses program at Children's Hospital, initiated a "Wigs for Teens " program active over the last 2 years, initiated a pilot study of "Healing through the Arts" at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and awarded 6 scholarships to graduating seniors who have faced adversity.
Our Foundation continues to strive to represent the values of Summer Hammond in making this world and one another "better people".
The Summer's Way Foundation Workshop from my perspective was a meeting that served its purpose well. I came away even more energized to do more for the Rhabdo (RMS) patients in years to come and it started a collaboration between myself and other researchers to advance new therapies in RMS.(CV Cold Spring Harbor Lab)
The Summer's Way Foundation presented a powerful program that left us leaving there feeling a renewed sense of our mission. I have been to several similar ones, but I think the most exciting thing to come from this one was seeing how research groups and the foundations are aligning. I truly believe we have critical mass to make some things happen, (JS National Cancer Institute.)
Am so honored to be the first recipient of the "Summer's Way/Friends of TJ Young Investigator Grant for 2019/20. (Katie Hebron PhD NCI/NIH)
Our daughter was a recent recipient of a wig by the SWF, " I cant believe the difference it makes in her whole emotional state. It brings back a precious glimpse of normal life".
We are so appreciative of the Summer's Way Foundation supporting a much needed program "Healing through the Arts". This program is afforded to our patients who must be isolated for prolonged period on the oncology unit and bone marrow transplant services. We believe it will provide much needed emotional and mental health support during these long hospitalizations.