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2019 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

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

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!

2 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.

2 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 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.

1 Stacey Light L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My sisters and I are childhood friends of Dena Sherwood (Founder of Arms Wide Open). This woman is selfless, helping everyone and anyone that needs it. Her charity has raised MILLIONS of dollars for cancer research. I can’t imagine a better charity to support.

1 ginamcd

Donor

Rating: 5

I witnessed the start of this organization from the very beginning when Dena Sherwood's son Billy was diagnosed with cancer. Not only has Dena and her organization raised money for childhood cancer, but she has inspired her community to do more, to be more, and to care more. When we open our hearts and arms and minds to helping others, particularly those most vulnerable, we change our world. Dean and Arms Wide Open have done that with great enthusiasm, laser focus, and an unrelenting commitment to serving children who most need our help. Praise their work!

Previous Stories
3

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization, founded by Dena Sherwood, does incredible work in raising funds and educating the public about nueroblastoma. But as important for me is her unwavering faith. Her life is a testament to what faith can accomplish. Simply in her presence, I understand the divinity in all of us. Her faith has strengthened mine, and I am grateful that I know her.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

From pediatric cancer awareness to research funding to practical support to hope and healing in the wake of the loss, this organization is fueled by pure love and passion and has help available every step of the way.

1 Michelle A.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer when I can.... I have known the founder of this foundation for at least 8 years now.... I used to volunteer for the Wellness Night at The Ronald McDonald House in NYC...... Dena has and continues to help so many children with cancer... the founder of this foundation is an incredible person who lives for these kids!!!!!! This foundation deserves nothing but the best bc they are the best!!!!!!

1 Kira Lynn Pavitt L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Arms wide open brought us on a bereavement retreat that helped us begin working through losing our 8 year old son, Dominic, to brain cancer. We are looking forward to returning to the retreat which felt like a safe place with others that understand our heartache.

1 Bill L.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Dena goes above and beyond to provide support to families affected by childhood cancer. She truly cares about the kids and families involved. Outstanding foundation.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization has done some truly amazing things for children battling cancer and their families! The founder and her family has lived through what other families who have children with cancer are living through, so they completely understand what they are going through.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

They really do so much for the families of someone that has been unfortunately diagnosed with cancer. Such a wonderful organization that I love to donate to.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am proud to donate to Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation, Inc. to support their mission to fund less toxic therapies, to aid families, and to raise awareness through their many initatives.

1 jessica_hester

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

AWOCCF is an organization with MORE heart and compassion than any other organization I know. They provide families of kids with cancer loving support and endless hope with the pediatric cancer trials they fund. If you don’t know where to give to make a difference, look here first. They will not stop until cancer stops taking our babies too soon. We are proud to have been able to partner with them indefinitely.

1 Kristena K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

After our daughter, Bryanna, passed from ETP-ALL, a rare and aggressive form of leukemia, we were barely treading water. We were trying to cope with the devastating hole in our hearts, life and home while still making sure that our two younger kids, Evey and Liam were okay and that they knew they mattered. Just when we felt like we were drowning, we took a chance and attended a bereavement breakfast hosted by awo. That lead to an invitation to their bereavement retreat as a family. For the first time since Bryanna died, we felt like we had a life line. The love, support and understanding that this amazing organization has offered then, and continue to offer now is amazing. When we feel like we are barely floating, they are there. Each and every time. We have found a family that understands the experiences that we have had through Bryanna's cancer diagnosis, treatment and death. The experiences are certainly unique in our own way, but the love and support that they extend leaps beyond any wall, any difference and offers unconditional, no strings attached support, love and connection. I would highly recommend this foundation to families dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis.