Once again, it is an honor and a privilege to be involved in the Pan Mass Challenge, and to have the continued support of Car Talk and its devotee's (both loyal and fickle).

The financial straits that affect the country have had an impact on funding for cancer-related research, which is why your support is more important than ever. Cancer, unfortunately, does not understand the concept of recession. It continues to affect children and their families in good times and bad, and for those so affected, the financial consequences of having a child in treatment are greater than ever. Believe me, I hate sounding so serious on the Car Talk website, but the truth of the matter is, this is serious work, and we seriously need your help.

That's not to say that there isn't good news in the world of pediatric oncology. There are a large number of incredible new cancer drugs in development, and efforts are in place to make these drugs available to pediatric cancer patients faster than ever. There have also been some astounding discoveries made in neuroblastoma (the cancer Henry had) by the group at my new hospital in Philadelphia that will certainly open new therapeutic opportunities for children like Henry.

I am also very, very proud to report that last year, our Pan Mass Challenge team donated a whopping $100,000 to support pediatric brain tumor research in the laboratory that will benefit not only children in the US, but also children in Egypt, China, and India through a remarkable collaboration where tumor specimens from these countries are being sent to the US so that Dana-Farber doctors can assist in diagnosis and treatment planning. These same tumor specimens will then be used to fuel groundbreaking research to help develop new treatments.

Again, I cannot thank Tom, Ray, and the entire Car Talk family enough for their support over the years. I understand that everyone is in "conservation mode" these days, but perhaps if everyone who is reading this took the money that they'd spend on one carwash and instead let us use it for pediatric cancer research, we'd all be so happy about new cures that we wouldn't have time to notice all of the dirty cars on the road. What do you think? If you're game, please visit my PMC page and lend your support (and no, unfortunately, I can't take those 'free carwash coupons' that you get at the gas pump when you fill your tank).

Thanks again for your help!

"Dr. Sam" Blackman

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