At ALSF, Concern About the Psychosocial State of Kids with Cancer

It can be easy to neglect a kid’s mental state when they have life-threatening cancer. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in, you know, saving their life, that their quality of life dips sharply in the process.

Some people might see “improving the psychosocial outcomes” of children going through cancer treatment as a secondary concern, but not Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundationwhich was founded by then four-year-old Alexandra Scott, who had two bouts of neuroblastoma before her fifth birthday in 2000. After a stem cell transplant shortly after her fourth birthday, she told her mother that when she got out of the hospital, she wanted to have a lemonade stand to raise money for “her hospital” to help kids with cancer. That first year, she raised $2,000. Though Alex passed away in 2004 at the age of eight, the foundation she started lives on. To date, ALSF has given over $1 million to help cure childhood cancer, which is pretty damn impressive.

And naturally, having been founded by someone actually suffering through cancer treatments, the ALSF is full of heart. It supports pediatric oncology research, sure, but it also reaches for projects related to childhood cancer that wouldn’t come from anywhere else.  

ALSF has a Psychosocial Grant program, and it just announced an RFP in two areas:

1) Psychosocial Launch Grants are designed for early-career researchers within seven years of receiving their terminal degrees. Grants of up to $100,000 over two years support studies that aim to explain and/or improve psychosocial outcomes of those affected by childhood cancer.

2) Psychosocial Family Impact Grants are designed for established investigators. Grants of up to $300,000 over three years support studies that aim to explain and/or improve psychosocial outcomes of those affected by childhood cancer. These grants are designed to fund researchers who have novel approaches to understanding the psychosocial aspects of pediatric cancer and whose proposals are likely to have clinically significant impact.

Programs like these are the perfect complement to nuts-and-bolts research focusing on a cure. Because while getting to a cure is important, the journey shouldn’t be fraught with heartache.