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We are really pleased to begin bringing some canine love to children with cancer. A visit from one of our therapy dog teams can break the daily routine, increase overall emotional well-being, and stimulate the mind in dramatic ways. Comfort dogs offer many wonderful benefits to people of all ages.


Childhood cancer casts a devastating shadow over countless families worldwide. Despite its profound impact, funding for childhood cancer prevention and research remains staggeringly low, with a mere 4% of federal funds directed to these crucial efforts. In this blog post, we delve into alarming statistics surrounding childhood cancer, underlining the urgent need for increased funding. Join us in recognizing the significance of supporting organizations like KoaStrong, committed to making a difference in the lives of children of future generations that have the potential to face this formidable challenge.


Only 4% of Federal Funding: The revelation that only 4% of federal funding is dedicated to childhood cancer treatment research is truly shocking. This stark disparity emphasizes the critical necessity for a substantial increase in financial support to drive meaningful advancements in prevention and treatment.

1 in 285 Children Diagnosed:

Approximately 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday. This statistic underscores the prevalence of childhood cancer, highlighting the need for proactive measures to prevent, diagnose, and effectively treat these conditions.

The Urgency for Funding:

Childhood cancer stands as a relentless adversary, demanding increased resources and attention. Without adequate funding, research initiatives struggle to make progress, impeding the development of innovative treatments and prevention strategies. The urgency lies in bridging the funding gap to ensure that no child has to face the devastating consequences of insufficiently funded research.

The Focus of Funding Requires Change:

The major focus of funding is treatment research where an entity has a vested financial interest in the development of the pharmaceuticalʻs return on investment. Despite this financial motivation, very few new drugs have been developed for the treatment of many childhood cancers. Cancer in adults requires prevention and early identification for successful outcomes - cancer in children is no different. More focus on funding research topics on the cause of cancer is necessary to proactively identify pre-cancer in children before they develop into cancer. Primary prevention of childhood cancers is KoaStrongʻs mission.

Ways to Help:

Donate to KoaStrong Childhood Cancer Prevention Organization: Supporting organizations like KoaStrong provides a direct and impactful way to contribute to childhood cancer prevention and research. Donations empower these organizations to fund critical research projects, offer support to affected families, and advocate for increased awareness.

Spread Awareness:

Utilize your voice and platforms to raise awareness about the insufficient funding and focus of funding for childhood cancer. Share informative content on social media, participate in awareness campaigns, and encourage others to join the cause. Increased awareness can lead to greater public support and, ultimately, increased funding.

Participate in Fundraising Events:

KoaStrong organizes numerous fundraising events to support childhood cancer prevention. These events include silent auctions, baseball camps, and community fundraising.The fight against childhood cancer necessitates a collective effort to address funding gaps and prioritize research and prevention initiatives. By comprehending the alarming statistics and proactively supporting organizations like KoaStrong, we contribute to a future where no child's life is cut short by this devastating disease. Together, let's make a difference and ensure a brighter, healthier tomorrow for the youngest members of our community.

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  • Writer's pictureLisa Pagán

Updated: Jan 12

In the journey to affect change in the current pediatric oncology landscape, I’ve come to understand what “prevent childhood cancer” looks like for KOASTRONG Childhood Cancer Prevention Organization. It involves so much more than a funding transaction supporting genomic or biologic research. What is necessary is more of a “Wheel of Prevention of Childhood Cancer” requiring many different spokes & spectrums, representing the medical, health & research specialties. The wheel can only move in the direction of prevention of childhood cancer when each specialty is focused on forward progress in this area. Genomics, epidemiology, obstetrics, pediatrics, neonatology, virology, genetic counseling, cancer geneticists, family planning, public health and health policy must work together, much like gears do, to gain knowledge, and to also package and share that information for public benefit. Research discoveries alone will not create the prevention of childhood cancers.

Primary prevention of childhood cancer is KOASTRONG’s mission.

What are the possibilities!?

  1. Identify more genes that cause the cancers in children and use this information to benefit children and families; develop screenings to be administered at birth, and age 5.

  2. Screen newborns for the markers that are related to the cancers in children; advocate for all states to include childhood cancers in the existing newborn screenings processed at state laboratories.

  3. Screen healthy growing children multiple times before age 8.

  4. Include blood draws in well visits on healthy children.

  5. Vaccinate against the viruses that cause childhood cancers.

  6. Create risk assessments of genetic predisposition and environmental exposures for childhood cancers and a protocol to increase surveillance in children that have risk factors, including more frequent check ups and bloodwork.

  7. Involve pediatric oncology in primary prevention of childhood cancer.

  8. Genetic testing, genetic counseling and exposure risks should be readily available in the family planning phase.

  9. Identify the environmental exposures that cause childhood cancers.

  10. Develop the current research for known childhood cancer element exposures into youth (& adult) screenings.

KOASTRONG will focus foremost efforts on funding research and supporting efforts to include childhood cancer markers in the newborn screenings.

KOASTRONG is determined and will move forward with courage at every step:

To gain knowledge that could be as painful as it is beneficial and informative.

To learn to surf the waves, moving in the direction of change, rather than attempt to stop an inevitable and perpetual motion of energy.

To push forward and in a new direction when everyone else is going in a different direction.

To hit roadblocks, rejection and failure and get back up to find the way.

To challenge the current state of medical prevention which does not begin until a child GETS the cancer diagnosis.

We protect skating children with helmets & elbow pads, just in case they fall. Children deserve to have layers of protection against cancers, instead of none.

Koa was a protector, always standing up for his friends and loved ones. All children deserve to be protected from childhood cancers. Be a part of an our movement to end childhood cancer! Lets do it for Koa.

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  • Writer's pictureLisa Pagán

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Fact: The average age for a child to be diagnosed with cancer is 8 years old.

Eight years old? This is an age that is distinctive for a human body in its rate of growth and development. Children's bones are growing, brains developing, hormones are regulating muscle mass & blood glucose, to name a few of the automatic physiologic processes happening in their bodies to keep them healthy, growing and developing. Intuitively, if age eight is the average time of developing cancer, age eight must also be an age of vulnerability of the child's developing systems. A child this age is completely dependent on his parents and health system for healthy development into adulthood. All children deserve the opportunity to lead healthy long lives. All children deserve to be protected from cancer just as they are protected against pneumonia, chicken pox, small pox, whooping cough, HPV, covid, etc.

Cancer is the number one disease a child dies from and yet little is known about the causes. In fact very little clinical data or research existed in the past on childhood cancers. How can we deeply understand the basics of childhood cancers without clinical data and research? Only recently do registries exist that include childhood cancers, which can also differ from adult cancers with the same name. We can read that exposure to pesticides or radiation can cause cancer, but can a healthy 8 year old have already endured excessive or enough exposure to cause cancer? Was it the 3 X-rays he had when he was 5 years old after breaking his foot, then femur? Was it the organic or non organic produce he ate so much of? He was so healthy, so active, so strong, so funny, so smart, so compassionate, so intellectual, so articulate.

boy in bow tie for kindergarten portrait later gets childhood cancer

What if we knew, understood and expected the vulnerable phases in child's development and we were able to vaccinate or supplement? Much like when a woman anticipates starting a family she will take pre-natal vitamins knowing that folic acid will help prevent neural tube defects or when I start to feel cold symptoms I take a zinc supplement to help lessen the duration of the cold. We live in a country that has been fortifying our food since the 1920's to prevent nutrition-related illnesses. The US government instituted supplementing foods with vitamins and nutrients to help prevent or lower the risk of rickets or such defects as cleft palate, which are much more common in other countries because of the measures we take in our country. In today's age of high biotech progress, we know so much about so many things and so why don't we know about the number one killer of children? Does it have to reach a higher incidence than 16,000 children a year? Unfortunately, the number of children getting cancer is increasing each year.

Is there a possibility that around age 8, children are no longer eating as much of those fortified foods and may need a blood test to determine their own deficiencies? Is there a common virus school age children get that could be causing leukemia in some children that also have some other deficiency? Do healthy children need periodic bloodwork?

How does a healthy child get cancer?

We don't know why or how because more research money is spent on other aspects of the wide spectrum of cancer as a whole. Deep discovery begins with asking the right questions. Primary prevention of childhood cancer is only a possibility if we make it one. This is KOASTRONG's goal.

Lisa Pagán, Koa's mom


"I dwell in possibility" - Emily Dickinson

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