Tampa Bay Lightning

A RAY OF HOPE FROM THE SUNSHINE PROJECT

Thursday, 06.01.2006 / 12:00 AM / Bolts Report
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A RAY OF HOPE FROM THE SUNSHINE PROJECT
Lightning Foundation Grant Story Archive:
A Ray Of Hope From The Sunshine Project
SERVE Volunteers In Education
St. Peter Claver Catholic Scholarship Fund
Tampa Bay SLED Hockey Program
Everyday Blessings For Foster Children
The Spring Of Tampa Bay, Where Family Abuse Ends
A Gift For Teaching
Salesian Youth Center
Connected By 25


On Wednesday, May 31 The Lightning Foundation, charitable arm of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum, presented nine financial grants to charities in the Tampa Bay community totaling more than $70,000. Marking the first time in its history that the foundation has conducted a grant program, the event signaled the evolution and continued growth of the Lightning Foundation, which aims to be a leader in Tampa Bay, helping to make our community a better place to live, work and play.

Today's is the first of nine features that will run weekdays on tampabaylightning.com, detailing each program and why it was selected by the Lightning Foundation's Board of Directors. For more information on each program or to learn how you can help please look for the link at the end of the story.


A RAY OF HOPE FROM THE SUNSHINE PROJECT

When it comes to hockey fans some of the biggest ones are the children seen wearing the jerseys of their favorite players at home games, cheering on Brad Richards as he skates the puck up the ice or dancing on the jumbo-tron to the amusement of everyone in a packed St. Pete Times Forum. The Pediatric Cancer Foundation, through The Sunshine Project, and with the assistance of the Lightning Foundation, is working hard to make sure that children battling cancer will get that same opportunity.

The Lightning Foundation awarded the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's project with one of nine grants on May 31. With help from the grant The Sunshine Project will receive important additional funding to aid in the prevention and cure of pediatric cancers.

The Sunshine Project targets pediatric sarcomas which are malignant tumors of the connective tissues and are divided into two main groups, bone tumors and soft tissue. The mission of the program is to accelerate the development of new drugs and therapies that will in turn lead to the prevention and cure of this disease. Unfortunately, at present time, close to half of the drugs used to treat effected patients are at least 20 years old according to the Institute of Medicine.

"The Sunshine Project is designed to increase the survivorship of sarcoma patients," Pediatric Cancer Foundation Executive Director Barbara Rebold said. "Since it has been more than 20 years since a new drug, every cent counts. If it takes a team [such as the Lightning] to save one more child's life then we, and the team, have succeeded."

Sarcomas also carry one of the lowest survival rates in comparison to other childhood cancers. That is why it is imperative for The Sunshine Project, with help from the Lightning Foundation, to help find new treatments through research and funding.

"I think what the Lightning Foundation is doing in the community will benefit us for years to come," Rebold said. "It is not just a one-time thing. What they are doing will have significant positive effects in the long run. All of us, and those who will benefit from the program, take our hats off to the Lightning and what they do in this community."

Medical and research institutions associated with The Sunshine Project include Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, City of Hope Cancer Center in California, All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Miami Children's Hospital, Nemours in Jacksonville and the University of Miami.

As pediatric cancer continues to be the number one fatal disease for children, it is programs like The Sunshine Project, with donations from the Lightning Foundation and others like it, that will continue to provide a ray of hope for children.

For more information on the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and The Sunshine Project or to learn how you can help please log on to www.pcfusa.org.