No Time To Lose: Pediatric Brain Cancer and the DIPG Fast-Track with Lisa and Jace Ward

"While we wait," declared Jace Ward from Wamego Kansas, to an NIH Symposium on genomic data sharing in September, 2019, "DIPG won't wait! It won't wait to take my mobility, my sight, my speech and my life..." With an extraordinary opportunity to shine a light on one of the darkest realms of pediatric oncology, Jace Ward, a young law student of 20 years, backed by his family takes on the burden of raising crucial awareness to the urgent, life/death struggle facing most all children diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, the 2nd most common pediatric brain cancer. 

Jace takes us through this journey with pediatric brain cancer, the leading disease-related cause of death in children in the USA, in real-time; his mother Lisa shares the reality with which families are invariably confronted, mostly in obscurity. The most promising treatments for DIPG are currently funded by parent-led foundations and for which participation is exceedingly difficult to qualify. We learn about Jace's fight for ONC201 to be available to more children facing DIPG and midline glioma, and the campaign for a hearing with the Health Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce, to bring attention to this issue of urgency to our lawmakers in US Congress. 

 

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About Janet


Blessed with varied interests and an artistic and musical upbringing, Janet had health challenges throughout her young adult life. Despite these she graduated Cum Laude from Wellesley College with an award of distinction for acting, and had also been a champion equestrian. She began a family with her husband Barry later in life, and had finally found happiness with daughter Sophie-Marie (3/12/06) and then baby (Jack 8/30/08). Five weeks after his birth, the family escaped a wildfire in which all worldly possessions were lost. The family relocated in December of 2008 to Agua Dulce CA where they currently reside.

Jack began to have unsettling symptoms at the age of 3; he was taken to Children's Hospital Los Angeles and was diagnosed with DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, on Friday Oct. 28, 2011, indisputably the darkest experience of Janet's life. The outrage of it made her determined to find the good in the situation, and she asked God to "Put me to work!" After Jack's death, she remained determined to start working to find solutions to DIPG and incorporated Jack's Angels at the end of 2012; the Foundation began its work in 2013. Despite the fact that DIPG is responsible for the majority of brain tumor deaths in children, she had been told there were no solutions for Jack because "the numbers aren't great enough for investors." This remains the primary motivation in her advocacy work, to prioritize children's lives in our medical system in the United States.