Because of Sam….

A friend of mine who lost a daughter to neuroblastoma almost three years ago told me there is not a “before Sam and after Sam”; he told me that there is a “before Sam and Because of Sam”.  Well, this is a “Because of Sam” story.

Almost two years ago, I was at the ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) 2008 Annual Conference in San Diego. It is the largest oncology conference every year and I was lucky it was held in San Diego.  I stopped at every presentation in the huge hall and stumbled across a PhD, Andre Bachmann, from the University of Hawaii.  He was presenting some work on neuroblastoma which was years from the clinic;  I broke down and told him I don’t have that kind of time and asked if he had something else.  He did.  He told be about his work with a drug called DFMO which is used for African Sleeping Sickness.  I listened and through another father at the conference, we connected Dr. Bachmann with a clinical oncologist (an MD) who could put this into the clinic if it made sense.  Our foundation,, helped fund the preclinical work that assessed combinations that would work best with DFMO. 

This week, almost 2 years later, the clinical trial of DFMO and Etoposide opened and the first child enrolled. His name is Ryan Regan and his website is  What’s great about it is that Ryan was able to go to school this week for the first time in a very, very long time. 

I hope this treatment helps Ryan and other kids.  And if it does, it’s because of a beautiful little boy with red hair who loved school and every sport and was the best big brother imaginable. 

It would be Because of Sam….