The Morgan Adams Foundation raises money and awareness on behalf of children affected with cancer. Working with leading physicians, we directly fund pediatric cancer research and therapies that will improve survival rates and reduce the devastating side-effects cancer treatments have on our children.
Morgan Adams was a normal, healthy 5-year old girl when she was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumor in December of 1997. She battled her cancer for 11 months before she succumbed to the disease. Three years after Morgan died, her parents started this organization as a way to address the unmet needs in the field of pediatric cancer research.
As a result of their work The Morgan Adams Foundation has grown to encompass many, many more families whose children have battled cancer, has developed a wide roster of events and has funded over $4.7 million in pediatric cancer research projects in Colorado and across the country.
We are a vital, vibrant and committed organization born out of love and hope and the determination to see a better, cancer-free future for our children.
Cash was just 5 when he was diagnosed with a ganglioglioma, a brain tumor that had spread into his spine. That ruled out surgery-which is usually the only treatment needed. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are not very effective against this type of tumor.
"What many parents will tell you is it's quite the surprise," his mother Shelly says. "One minute your kid starts having a seizure, and then you're in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit)."
Cash's oncologist at Children's Hospital Colorado is Jean Mulcahy-Levy, MD. She is also a lab researcher who has shown that gangliogliomas can have the genetic mutation against which a chemotherapy called vemurafenib has been shown to be effective. Her research has been funded by The Morgan Adams Foundation.
Dr. Levy tested Cash's tumor for the gene mutation. The test was positive. "Before we knew that the mutation exists in these pediatric tumors and that this drug worked against it, there was no treatment," Dr. Levy says.
"Cash would not be on this planet if it wasn't for Dr. Mulcahy-Levy and The Morgan Adams Foundation," Shelly says. "We could not have been in a better place if he was going to have this cancer." Cash had treatments three times a month for a year. The therapy is not easy. He is the youngest patient Dr. Levy has treated locally, and was only the second child in Colorado to take part in the clinical trial.
On Feb. 16, 2015, Cash's mom posted a picture on the Cash's Crew Facebook page of him holding up a sign saying "1 year of clean scans." Cash's Crew followers have cheered him on since his diagnosis, including riding in Children's Courage Classic bicycle tour and making T-shirts to sell as a Morgan Adams Foundation Fundraiser.
Now, Dr. Levy sees Cash every three months and says "He looks great! He's a kid who has a clear sense of who he is and what he wants. He can seem very grown up for his age. He's gaining weight, growing, just playful and never low on energy. It's such a great thing to see." Today, you'll find Cash playing Minecraft and other video games with his "more than 1 best friend" or cuddling with his two cats, Freckles and Bonnie. He hangs out with his huge network of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, and, of course, his mom-all of whom were a literal lifeline for the family during Cash's treatments.
Dr. Levy says the research that led to Cash's treatment would not have happened so quickly without funding from The Morgan Adams Foundation.
"It's not easy to get funding when you're doing research in smaller populations like kids," she says. "We're driving rapidly forward with treatments because when we have a good idea, we're able to get funding within a couple of months from Morgan Adams. If we were applying for a National Institutes of Health grant, it could be nine months or more before we'd even know if we got funded at all."
Shelly and Cash are doing the things they love, including traveling and getting even better at X-Box. He rides his bike and he joined his school choir. He wouldn't sit still for an interview because he's too busy living and playing with his kitty cats -- just as he should be.