JOIN THE BATTLE. Beat Rare Cancers.
Jake Kestler is a 13 year old boy who loves baseball and has been participating in the Livingston Little League program since he was 5 years old. Jake was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) in February 2012 when he was 7 years old. Jake was treated by the amazing doctors and nurses at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Jake’s cancer had been in remission for more than 4 years when he was very suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor on December 22, 2016 at the age of 12 after experiencing headaches. The neurosurgery team at MSKCC performed an operation on Jake to remove the tumor the next day. Jake recovered well from the surgery and received then received a variety of treatments at MSKCC including radiation, chemotherapy and later immunotherapy. Jake was even able to play Little League last spring as a member of the Yankees in the Major League Division.
In the fall of 2017, after realizing that there were very limited treatment options remaining for Jake locally, Jake’s parents decided to pursue a clinical trial. After countless hours of research, travel and parental advocacy, they found an innovative clinical trial at the University of Alabama Birmingham which utilized an oncolytic virus (in this case, a modified version of the herpes simplex virus) to attack the tumor directly as well as to stimulate the immune system to recognize and kill tumor cells on its own. Fortunately, Jake qualified and was accepted to the trial and he spent almost three weeks in Birmingham in October 2017 receiving and recovering from the treatment. Jake is one of only a handful of children in the country to receive this treatment.
Jake is currently home and doing well. He and his parents travel every 2 months back to Birmingham for MRIs and check-ups and also continue to see his team at MSKCC every few weeks. Jake and his family are hopeful that this clinical trial will be the miracle that they have been searching for.
In 2013, Jake’s parents, Josh and Gallite Kestler, joined the Cycle for Survival battle and formed “Team Jake” to ride in the New Jersey event in honor of Jake’s courageous battle against Leukemia. Cycle for Survival holds high-energy indoor team cycling events which provide a tangible way for you to fight back—100% of all money raised directly funds lifesaving rare cancer research at MSKCC. After participating in six (6) Cycle for Survival events from 2013-2018 (and thanks to the remarkable generosity of friends, family and colleagues), Team Jake has raised more than $250,000 for the cause. Cycle for Survival gives them hope that a cure can be developed to beat this disease, so that one day children like Jake can receive better and more efficient treatments and ultimately, win the battle against cancer.
Beginning in 2017, the Livingston Little League supported a “Knock Cancer Out of the Park” campaign to help Team Jake in its efforts to raise money for rare cancer research with the goal of knocking cancer out of the park. This campaign was started by Jake’s family friend and long-time coach, Dr. Steven Arsht. The “Knock Cancer Out of the Park” campaign will continue for the upcoming 2018 season. As part of this campaign, $100 will be donated for every home run hit this year in the Major League Division. 100% of all proceeds will go to rare cancer research at MSKCC. Please consider donating to help Jake knock cancer out of the park.
for your support!
“Knock Cancer Out of the Park” is an event that was started in 2017 for the purpose of increasing pediatric cancer awareness and raising money to directly fund pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Our mission is to fight back and defeat pediatric cancer by funding lifesaving research. We seek to honor the bravery of the children and families in our community and around the country who have faced or are currently facing pediatric cancer battles. Let’s help them Knock Cancer Out of the Park.
Each year, approximately 15,700 kids are diagnosed with cancer. Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the number one cause of death by disease in children. Despite significant advances in treatments and overall survival rates in recent years, there is still a substantial amount of work to be done to ensure that all children have access to safer and more effective treatments and ultimately, a cure for all pediatric cancers.
In support of this campaign, the Mayor of Livingston, Edward Meinhardt, has signed an official town proclamation declaring that April 7th, 2018, Opening Day for the Livingston Little League, is Knock Cancer Out of the Park Day. The Livingston Little League will also display special Team Jake and Knock Cancer Out of the Park banners at the Northland and Meadowbrook baseball fields this season.
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