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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 Wendy159

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I lost my 16-year-old son to leukemia last year. Always thinking of others, he told me of his wish for a cure for childhood cancer. I wasn't sure where to start but knew that my mission in life was now to fulfill my son's wish. I heard about Arms Wide Open from a friend and contacted Dena Sherwood about how I could help them raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Dena called me right away and I felt like I was talking to a long-lost friend. She helped me understand what AWOCCF does to support children and their families and how I can make a difference in memory of my son. I knew from the moment that we spoke that this amazing woman was a compassionate champion for our children. Having known her now for over a year, I am even more impressed with her commitment, leadership and desire to make childhood cancer a national priority.

I can't tell you how rewarding it is to know that the funds we raise in memory of my son are helping researchers discover new and less destructive therapies and will ultimately lead to a cure for all childhood cancers. AWOCCF lets me know exactly what research grants they are funding right down to the type of cancer, the name of the doctor and the hospital where the research is being done. Amazing!

Cancer robbed my son of his life and our family of one of the most kindhearted and loving kids ever to walk the face of this earth. AWOCCF has given me a way to channel my grief into action, honor my son's memory, and help to fulfill his wish to end childhood cancer.

1 LisaAWO

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation is a blessing to the Childhood Cancer Community! Dena Sherwood works tirelessly to make sure families have the support they need when they get the devastating news that their child has cancer. Having walked in their shoes, the Sherwood family is able to empathize in a very personal way.
Among the many things they do, AWO is the parent organization of The Truth 365, a social media campaign that raises awareness of the plight of children facing cancer. The Truth 365 reaches thousands of people everyday, and could not happen without the support of Arms Wide Open. Another contribution that AWO makes every year is CureFest in Washington, DC. Each September, AWO/TT365 hosts this pinnacle event within the childhood cancer community, bringing together foundations and families from all over the country to be ONE VOICE for our kids! AWO also gives monthly grants to families in need, funds research grants for clinical trials, and hosts a free Bereavement Retreat for families who have lost a child to cancer. There are many childhood cancer foundations out there, but very few are touching as many lives as Arms Wide Open. The name suits this foundation perfectly. Dena Sherwood's arms are indeed WIDE open as she faithfully takes her lead from the depths of her heart and the direction of her heavenly father.

1 Donna243

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Arms Wide Open CCF is a foundation that truly cares about the community it serves. This message is driven down from the leadership to the volunteers and out to the children and families it serves in the childhood cancer community. The service offerings and fundraising initiatives are implemented at all levels to include legislative awareness, community outreach and involvement, research, bereavement retreats, empowering the next generation of young leaders to be advocates, be selfless, be compassionate, be vocal, and be present. I am honored to work with them when I can.

2 Patty C.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a charity that makes a difference not only in research, which they do, but to individual children fighting the cancer monster. Dena Sherwood, the founder, visits these warriors and their families and fulfills the smallest wants and the greatest needs. She is an angel on earth. Her tireless fundraising and awareness campaigns leave all who know her and this incredible foundation in awe.