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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Cancer Research, Health

Mission: The mission of Arms Wide Open is to fund less toxic therapies for children with cancer so they can have a better quality of life as they battle the disease and to give families hope by bridging the funding gap and making available potentially life-saving clinical trials that would otherwise not be available. Since its inception in 2009, Arms Wide Open has funded over 50 research grants for clinical trials. Through its many programs, Arms Wide Open also helps families throughout the United States both financially and emotionally who are suffering hardship due to their child’s diagnosis of cancer, providing them with support during the most difficult time of their lives. Through their Emmy-Award winning documentaries and awareness campaign, The Truth 365, Arms Wide Open is committed to educating the general public on the truth about childhood cancer, raising awareness on a global level, uniting the childhood cancer community, starting a movement through CureFest and giving children with cancer a voice so that they will see change in their lifetime.

Results: On July 6, 2008, the lives of Dena and Billy Sherwood changed forever when their then 13-month-old son, Billy Jr., was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, a very aggressive cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that most commonly occurs in infants and children under the age of five. After witnessing the lack of research funding, the lack of treatment options and experiencing firsthand the devastating effects of childhood cancer on an entire family, in August of 2009, in the midst of their son’s aggressive treatment, Dena and Billy founded Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation. Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation is working closely with scientists, researchers and doctors at top cancer centers throughout the United States; who are pioneers in the pediatric cancer field, who are on the forefront of bringing many alternative therapies into clinic which could prolong the lives of children diagnosed with cancer until a cure is funded. Right now there are 40,000 children being treated for childhood cancer but research funding is limited as pharmaceutical companies do not see the efforts as profitable. Recognizing that children should not be viewed as a profit, but, rather, our investment, Arms Wide Open raises money for less toxic therapies and actual treatments these children so desperately need in order to survive. The mission of Arms Wide Open is to fund less toxic therapies for children with cancer so they can have a better quality of life as they battle the disease and to give families hope by bridging the funding gap and making available potentially life-saving clinical trials that would otherwise not be available. Since its inception in 2008, Arms Wide Open has funded over 40 research grants and clinical trials. Through its many programs, Arms Wide Open also helps families throughout the United States both financially and emotionally who are suffering hardship due to their child’s diagnosis of cancer, providing them with support during the most difficult time of their lives. Through their Emmy-Award winning documentaries and awareness campaign, The Truth 365, Arms Wide Open is committed to educating the general public on the truth about childhood cancer, raising awareness on a global level, uniting the childhood cancer community, starting a national movement and giving children with cancer a voice so that they will see change in their lifetime. Through Curefest USA, held in September in Washington, D.C. annually, Arms Wide Open has begun to unite the childhood cancer community, which has resulted in the start of a National Movement!

Target demographics: children with cancer and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: hundreds of children and their families

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: Funding Research, Family Grants. Hope & Healing Bereavement Retreat, The Truth 365 Awareness Campaign, Curefest USA

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Mary Vinnie S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They are one of the best. They come along parents, support them both physically as well as spiritually. They walk the course with those they come alongside and get to know every person they support. Outstanding group.

1 Julie Messal M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing foundation! Helped us out so much when we felt isolated, alone and afraid. Arms Wide Open gave us HOPE and a family!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AWOCC is an organization run by people who are heaven sent...angels on earth who have hearts of gold!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I decided to write this review because I am so impressed by and grateful for the way AWOCCF has really focused in on the work needed to improve outcomes and quality of life for children with cancer. First, AWOCCF is funding the types of clinical trials that lead to more effective therapies and less toxic therapies – so crucial, because such new therapies are the only way more children can survive and also have healthy future lives. And not only does AWOCCF do its own fundraising, but it's communicating this desperate need to a much wider population with its very powerful Truth 365 media campaign. In addition, by co-hosting the annual Curefest event in DC, AWOCC brings pediatric cancer stakeholders together and facilitates more effective, more coordinated advocacy for the cause. Finally, and equally important, AWOCCF is giving direct support to the families actually going through pediatric cancer, with its financial assistance and variety of wellness programs. Keep up the excellent work, AWOCCF, and many, many thanks from a "cancer mom"!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer.

1 Maidie S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing! They are trying to get better , less toxic, cancer treatments for children..

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Arms Wide Open has been there through thick and thin when ever a family fighting cancer is in need. Dena Sherwood and her volunteers are truly angels on earth...God Bless you all.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my Grandson was first Diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma not only did Dena reach out to our family but she contacted doctors at sloan and was able to get us in contact with the doctors who ultimately saved his life with their protocols . Arms wide open childhood cancer foundation also provided us with some financial assistance as well as a place to go for information on new and existing options out there that might benefit our grandson.
I found A.W.O.C.C.F to be more than a foundation that help meet the needs of many cancer families through their many outreaches but a foundation with a human touch .

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dena is an incredible support to families that are going through and living out neuroblastoma diagnosis. She was our life line when our son was first diagnosed feeding us with hope and helping us make connections to get the best care possible. We are eternally grateful for her and all this foundation does to help families in crisis.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my nephew was diagnosed with neuroblastoma we were lost. Arms Wide Open literally forced themselves into his parents life and helped them overcome the shock of the diagnosis and move forward. It would have been neatly impossible without them. Thank you...

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely incredible pediatric cancer organization that supports not only research but the families directly affected by this insidious disease. Our family is so grateful for all that they do to support pediatric cancer research!

1 Joe W.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My favorite charity! Helpful, willing, called, responsive, supportive, loving and overall amazing. Arms Wide Open has helped countless families and given them HOPE. I love them and everything they stand for.

1 Kerri Y.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An amazing charity doing God’s work, run by His angels on Earth.

1 Silvia Dominguez V.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation has been the driving force in uniting Childhood Cancer organizations across the country and around the word to to come together to raise awareness of this devastating disease. Their passion and commitment is like no other. It is through them and the vision of Dena Sherwood that Curefest in Washington, DC came to life. This is now the largest Childhood Cancer event in the nation every year, bringing together tens of thousands of people together with one goal, to raise awareness and educate the public of the need to find a cure for children everywhere. All of this along with funding vital research and supporting families with children in the battle as well as those who have lost their beloved child makes Arms Wide Open a 5 Star foundation.

1 Vanessa Forte A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation was there for us so that we could be there for our child. They lifted a financial burden to allow us to focus only on getting Luke the best possible care. Not only did they support us financially but they also helped to fund the clinical trials that saved his life. AWOCCF were there for us in two very different ways, both of which were instrumental in my son’s healing. The personal financial support was quick and tangible but the clinical trial funding helped us in a way that can never be repayed and for that we will always be grateful.

1 Chad M.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Beautiful people running a very important charity for a worthy cause!

1 Amy M.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Incredibley friendly.
Heart of gold.
Care for EVERYONE
no one is alone

1 William J L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Have always been informative to my son, Bill. Our grandson, Luke, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in late January, 2018

1 scassabria

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son, Nico, passed away after a 7 year battle with childhood cancer. It rocked our family to the core and left us feeling alone in our grief. Losing a child after watching them go through things no one should have to endure is traumatizing. A few months after he passed we attended AWO's Hope and Healing Bereavement Retreat where my husband and I met other parents who experienced that same loss and that same trauma. Not only that but our girls met other siblings who had the same experience in losing a sibling. Our family was able to connect with others we could truly relate to and spend time as a family and honor our son and brother. Thank you AWO for that priceless gift.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Arms Wide Open is a complete collaborative nonprofit. Without any credit wanted, they work with so many others to advance childhood cancer causes. They are very active in creating legislative changes by going through the halls of the Capitol to talk to legislators. They provide a huge voice for the childhood cancer community and act as a gathering point for the various other organizations.