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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 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.

1 Adrienne S.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dena and her family are just amazing. My son's friend, 10 at the time, was diagnosed with cancer. Dena stopped what she was doing and reached out to the boy's mother. She put her in touch with Dr's and gave her guidance. We are forever thankful. Nick is now cancer free.

1 Sandy B.3

Donor

Rating: 5

Where do I begin? I have the Honor of being the Sherwood’s neighbor around the corner. The Sherwood’s are living proof of What Faith, Vallor, Dignity and Honor are all about. Truly Hero’s that took their family’s unimaginable pain and suffering and turned it into one of the most successful organizations providing not only financial funding but also genuine kindness and emotional support during family’s deepest nightmares.......I could never adequately put into words how this organization has touched my heart, and the lives of so many families..... I can only repeat my sentiments, that this is the stuff that True HEROS are made of! God Bless the Arms Wide Open Foindation.

1 Donna269

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Childhood cancer is the #1 disease related killer of kids in the U.S. and the incidence of childhood cancer has been steadily rising. Despite compelling statistics childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded. Arms Wide Open CCF is one of the great non-profits that steps up to try to fill the gap in lack of funding for research, for families and they work to create awareness regarding the needs of childhood cancer. Arms Wide Open not only donates money to research but helps families in tremendous ways. This organization is also at the forefront in so many ways trying to tell the story and create advocacy that will result in more funding for childhood cancer research. For the past four years Arms Wide Open has hosted CureFest in Washington DC to bring other non-profits, individuals and organizations together to give ONE VOICE to kids battling cancer. With the support of Arms Wide Open this annual event has grown from a few organizations and people to thousands. They not only talk the talk but they walk the walk and are making a huge difference in the battle to help kids and find treatments and cures to combat this insidious disease called childhood cancer. With the help of non-profits like Arms Wide Open we look forward to the day when a doctor will say, the bad news is your child has cancer, the good news is we have a cure.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Well ,First I wanna Thank the members of awoccf for personally helping my family get through extremely difficult times in dealing with childhood cancer. Second, this foundation is very near and dear to my heart not only for what they have done for my family but, also what they have strived for and accomplished in the advancements of treatments being less toxic and more effective. I will hopefully be attending more of their events and outtings in the future. Hats off to you awoccf! And thank you for everything you have done for us Dena Sherwood. The Lord is using you how he intended and it's obvious by the success of this foundation. Please keep up the phenomenal job you guys and gals are doing, when it seems like the odds are not in our favor! We need more then 4%!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Rarely, if ever, has there been a more aptly named foundation. I have worked closely with AWO and it's founder on several occasions and projects including, but not limited to, a now international grassroots "movement" to bring awareness to the travesty that is childhood cancer treatment in this country today. I have never met a more dedicated group who leave no stone unturned nor say no to ANYTHING that will help a child with cancer and their families. I stand firmly behind AWO, their mission and the selfless way with which they carry it out.
-tattootom

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation is an amazing organization!! Last year, we went to their Hope and Healing Retreat with other families that lost children to cancer. Dena and her family are incredibly kind and compassionate people. This foundation is funding so many incredible research trials for pediatric cancers. They are providing so much awareness about childhood cancer through social media. They help on every front and we thank them for all they do.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family has been changed by this organization and their efforts to raise awareness for the lack of funding for children with cancer. They are truly moving the dial!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation is a wholeheartedly dedicated foundation that truly cares about each and every child and their families, and work so hard in raising money to find research to help find cures and bring comfort to families affected by cancer and for families that have lost a child to cancer. Dena Sherwood has a heart of gold. My son Evan passed away from Medullomyoblastoma brain cancer 10 days after his fifth birthday, Dena and her foundation have offered a bereavement remembrance weekend to families that have lost a child. We all comfort eachother and the support is huge. This foundation is a blessing and I know they go above and beyond to help fund treatments bring awareness and give support to those in need. Thank you Arms wide open.

1 Traci K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We lost our baby girl to Childhood Cancer a little over a year ago. Shortly after she passed we went to an Arms Wide Open Bereavement Retreat. We felt such love and support. They care so much about the families impacted by Childhood Cancer and do so much for people who are still fighting as well as those of us who lost our children. I truly cannot give enough praise and thanks to this foundation.