LUMBERTON — For the second time this year, Lumberton resident Maria Parker’s 3,000 Miles to a Cure has provided $100,000 to Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, a venture capital company that awards grants for brain cancer research efforts all across the United States.
The donation by Parker’s foundation is part of a four-year partnership between the two organizations to raise money to find a cure for brain cancer. The donations from Parker started with her first Race Across America in 2013 and have increased since then, said Mike Wallace, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure executive director.
“It’s an amazing gift,” Wallace said. “If you know their story, they work very hard for their money. Anyone that rides their bike across the country works very hard.”
Parker said Accelerate makes good use of the money, putting it toward projects that could very well find the cure. That’s why she decided to partner with them.
“We’ve worked with them for a long time because they are a small organization looking for the home run brain cancer cure,” Parker said.
Every dollar raised by 3,000 Miles to a Cure is donated to brain cancer research. The cause has been very close to Parker’s heart since her sister Jenny was diagnosed with the disease in 2013.
“It means a tremendous amount to me,” Parker said. “I get overwhelmed knowing the possibility to fund research that is gonna bring hope to families that sit in the same doctors’ offices that I sat in with my family.”
By year’s end, an estimated 69,720 cases of primary brain tumors will be diagnosed, according to Wallace. Three of every four will die within months. About 4,300 children younger than 20 will be diagnosed, and brain cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in children.
Despite these numbers, the disease doesn’t often receive the attention from pharmaceutical companies or government grants that it should, Wallace said. He is grateful for the hard work of Parker and 3,000 Miles to a Cure to help make up the funding gap.
“They have a personal reason to be involved, but I think there is a strong symbolic value to raise the money and make such an effort. That is a great thing for us,” he said. “It shows how important this is and why we need their private support.”
The most recent donation was raised through two main fundraisers, a 3,000 mile Race Across America in June, and a hike through the Grand Canyon made in November by 30 family members of brain cancer patients or others closely connected to the disease.
The money will further research toward learning more about how to treat brain cancer, Wallace said. The money will be divided between two projects: Insight Trial, a research project conducted by 10 universities across the country, and a University of Florida vaccine trial that aims to find a way to treat an aggressive form of brain cancer tumor.
When Parker began, she set a goal of raising $1 million to fund attempts at finding a cure. In June, Parker told The Robesonian donations had reached $300,000. There still is work to be done.
“We are all barraged by bad things that happen every day,” she said. “This is my little thing that I’m going to work on.”
Reach Jack Frederick by calling 910-416-5864.