St. Baldrick’s Foundation Kicks Off “Cancer-Free Isn’t Free” Campaign in Honor of June’s Cancer Survivor Month

By Jo Avelar

June 1, 2024
4 min read

Jo Anne Avelar
(626) 739-2716

LOS ANGELES (June 1, 2024) – In honor of National Cancer Survivor Month this June, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest charity funder of childhood cancer research grants, is launching its “Cancer-Free Isn’t Free” campaign. This initiative aims to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges and life-threatening conditions that childhood cancer survivors face. The Foundation will emphasize that survivorship is a lifelong journey and call for support in advancing research to develop more effective and less toxic treatments. Throughout June, St. Baldrick’s will spotlight childhood cancer survivors, sharing their unique stories to demonstrate that while they may be cancer-free, they continue to bear the burden of cancer and its long-term treatment effects.

While 85% of children diagnosed with cancer will survive at least five years post-diagnosis, these survivors face an increased risk of adverse health and quality of life outcomes. Research indicates that by age 50, over 99% of long-term childhood cancer survivors have developed a chronic health problem due to the toxic treatments they underwent, and 96% have experienced a severe or life-threatening condition. The leading causes of death among childhood cancer survivors are the recurrence of their primary cancer, the development of secondary cancers, and heart and lung damage.

At just 4 years old, Mary was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and after 22 months in remission, Mary relapsed and was put in her second clinical trial, enduring additional intense treatment. Now 14 years old, and eight years cancer-free, Mary now faces the late effects from treatment like stunted growth, multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, and stage 2 kidney disease.

Diagnosed with grade 2 ependymoma at 8 years old, Julia endured three major brain surgeries and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Although the treatment shrunk the tumor from 10cm to 5cm, the tumor still remains in Julia’s brain. Now at 17 years old and set to cross the graduation stage, Julia faces the late effects of treatment including vision and mobility issues and memory deficiencies.

After suddenly losing the ability to walk just before his 5th birthday, Aaron was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma and endured months of intense treatment. Now 12 years cancer-free, Aaron is in high school, excels in his academics, and is a musical prodigy. Determined to help find a cure, Aaron’s family hosts an annual head-shaving event, raising over $480,000 towards lifesaving childhood cancer research.

Sam faced months of treatment and overcame paralysis from the waist down through intense physical therapy when he was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in his junior year of high school. Now, three years in remission and a sophomore at San Diego State University, Sam is an avid golfer, plays the upright bass in the SDSU Symphony Orchestra, and has raised over $21,000 towards St. Baldrick’s mission to Conquer Kids’ Cancer.

These are just a few of the many brave childhood cancer survivors facing challenges long after treatment. Donate today and help kids with cancer not only survive but thrive.

For more childhood cancer survivor stories, visit the St. Baldrick’s blog. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #CancerFreeIsntFree and #StBaldricks and help raise awareness with one of these sharable graphics. Find St. Baldrick’s on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X.

To feature a local childhood cancer survivor or survivorship studies taking place in your area, please contact Jo Anne Avelar at

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation
Every 2 minutes, a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 5 will not survive. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest charity funder of childhood cancer research grants, has awarded more than $342 million to researchers to Conquer Kids’ Cancer. When you give to St. Baldrick’s, you don’t just give to one hospital – you support every institution with the expertise to treat kids with cancer across the U.S. St. Baldrick’s ensures that children fighting cancer now — and those diagnosed in the future — will have access to the most cutting-edge treatment, by supporting every stage of research, from new ideas in the lab to the training of the next generation of researchers, to lifesaving clinical trials. St. Baldrick’s has played a role in virtually every advancement in the field over the past 25 years and remains essential in advancing progress and fostering innovation in childhood cancer research. Visit and help #ConquerKidsCancer.