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Fundraiser Aims to 'Unravel Pediatric Cancer'

Sep 06, 2016 08:47AM ● Published by Jeanne Fratello

What will it take to "Unravel Pediatric Cancer?" That's the question two Manhattan Beach parents hope to answer as they host their second annual pediatric cancer research fundraiser on September 30 at the Manhattan Country Club.

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will feature dinner, dancing, gambling, and giveaways from Bo Bridges, Hammitt and more. Guests are encouraged to wear gold, a color representing support for pediatric cancer research.

At the event, brain cancer researcher Dr. Jim Olsen of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will discuss breakthroughs from Project Violet and what supporters' donations from last year's event are doing to help fight cancer. Additionally, Libby Kranz, founder of Unravel Pediatric Cancer, will share what her organization has done in the past year to move research towards a cure.

Tickets are $95 per person. Those who are interested in attending are encouraged to buy tickets soon; last year's event sold out.

The cause is personal to event co-founders and friends Christina Holman and Tara Hackley. Hackley's son Chinny, who battled brain cancer starting in 2010 at age 2 1/2, is now among the fortunate pediatric cancer survivors. The Hackley and Holman families have been active in raising funds for cancer research, through the Tour de Pier and this event.

"Cancer is such a vicious disease but it is made so much worse when it involves someone who can't fully understand what is happening," said Holman. "This also is what makes the courage that we watched in [Chinny] so much more inspirational. He didn't know what he was up against, he just knew he was going to fight. He did and thankfully he is doing really well and is the strongest young man I know. Tara has shown this same strength. She has been just as inspirational to me."

Holman added that after she met Unravel Pediatric Cancer's Libby Kranz, who founded the organization after the death of her daughter, "I thought to myself, 'I can’t believe this mom can find the strength to do something like this in the midst of such tragedy.' I knew then that there was no excuse as to why I couldn’t do something to support her efforts."

According to Unravel Pediatric Cancer, pediatric cancer is the number-one disease killer of children in the U.S., ahead of AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital abnormalities, and diabetes combined. Each day, 36 kids are diagnosed with cancer and 7 kids die. At the same time, fewer than 4 percent of the government's cancer research dollars are dedicated to pediatric cancer research.

"When you parent a living child you do whatever you can to protect them, and as a parent to a child in heaven you do whatever you can to protect their memory," said Kranz on her website. "I hope one day that Unravel will not be needed because change will have happened... but until then... until there is a cure I will be here."

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