When thinking about cancer, most people do their best to avoid such a diagnosis. With cancer, some environmental factors can be avoided. You can drink, smoke, and eat less, avoid lots of sunlight, and live a well balanced life. But what if there are other environmental factors that could be contributing to cancer, especially those in children? What if kids are getting sick from seemingly harmless places, like the fields they exercise on? This was the case for 12 year old goalkeeper, Oliver, who died 36 hours after he was diagnosed with AML Leukemia.
After his death his parents, Simon and Vilma, realized the lack of environmental data collected in cancer research and knew a change was needed. They created Oliver Forever Strong, a pediatric cancer research foundation.
Within the foundation, they partnered with Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College Medical School to launch www.TheReasonWhy.Us an epidemiological lifestyle registry to track the environmental factors that can impact children’s bodies in relation to cancer.
The database, National Registry of Pediatric Cancer Families, asks families to complete a comprehensive family history questionnaire including diet, neonatal practices, medications, infections, sports, leisure and other personal activities.
TheReasonWhy.Us hopes to track environmental factors and supply hospitals such as Texas Children’s with scientific proof, to one day regulate and control carcinogen and endocrine disruptors.
To achieve their goal, they need families who are fighting cancer to sign up for their registry and tell their stories. 50 families have signed so far, with the ambitious goal of 200 families by June.
This registry hits close to home for us at AEF, who lost our founder Austen, from cancer associated with the same environmental factors that took Oliver. Austen and AEF believe there needs to be significant changes to the regulation of artificial turf and additional research on the environmental factors that lead to cancer.