US Reporter

Dr. Mona Jhaveri Founded Nonprofit to Fight Cancer

Research is not the biggest hurdle for scientists searching for a cancer cure; it’s the funding required to get their innovations to those in need. New cancer-fighting drugs demand substantial financing in addition to years of development. According to former cancer researcher and nonprofit Music Beats Cancer founder Dr. Mona Jhaveri, many promising innovations don’t make it to the final stretch due to this lack of funds.

“As a public, we’ve been fighting the war on cancer since Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971,” said Dr. Jhaveri. “Yet treatment for many cancers, especially metastatic cancers, is still largely unchanged.”

In cancer research, many potential cures for the disease never make it to the patient. The problem is the funding gap to support the translation of research discoveries into therapies for those who need treatment. The cancer research industry refers to this as “The Valley of Death,” where great ideas die due to lack of funds.

The Valley of Death Meets Crowdfunding

Dr. Jhaveri faced this hurdle firsthand when her treatment for ovarian cancer succumbed to underfunding. 

“While doing my postdoctoral work at the National Cancer Institute, my team discovered a promising DNA-based therapy to treat ovarian cancer,” said Dr. Jhaveri. “I founded Foligo Therapeutics, Inc. to bring this idea from the lab to the clinic.”

Sadly, Dr. Jhaveri will never know how her biotech company could have impacted patients because the funding dried up. Like many other promising researchers searching for a cancer cure, Foligo Therapeutics was forced to close its doors.

Instead of feeling defeated, Dr. Jhaveri decided to disrupt the responsible system. In 2014, she left her research career behind to revolutionize this process of translating promising research discoveries into medical solutions. Instead of working in the lab, she put her energies into bridging the funding gap for her fellow researchers.

Inspired by the incredible crowdfunding success of the ALS ice bucket challenge, she decided to emulate this fundraising approach to support the development of biotech ideas. Her goal was to make millions of people aware of the Valley of Death issue and empower them to contribute to cancer-fighting innovations that they found worthy and compelling. Establishing Music Beats Cancer as a 501(c)3 organization enabled her to funnel charitable contributions directly to biotech start-ups working on cancer-fighting technologies. Meanwhile, donors get the opportunity to directly and transparently support biomedical innovations, such as new treatments, diagnostics, and prevention tools.

“Billions of dollars are invested into basic research each year, but great ideas are slow to advance to the clinic,” she said. “Music Beats Cancer can change this by enabling biotech innovators to raise funds through the crowd, helping them advance beyond the ‘Valley of Death.’ This is why we are different.” 

The Music in Music Beats Cancer

One of Dr. Jhaveri’s biggest challenges is cultivating the community for the cause. 

“With the crowdfunding platform, it’s challenging to cultivate, motivate, and incentivize a crowd,” she said. “There’s a lot of competition, and it’s hard to get your name out there in a meaningful way where people pay attention.”

Instead of ice buckets, Dr. Jhaveri came up with the idea of using music and musicians to help spread the word; she called it the #MusicBeatsCancer Challenge. Artists who are partnered with the Music Beats Cancer platform are tasked to raise funds. The ones who raise the most get a unique exposure opportunity, like their song aired on an iHeartRadio station or a meeting with Republic Records.

“I’m not a musician, but I became convinced that music could be the medium for getting our message out there,” she explained. “Independent artists became our collective voice for bringing biomedical science and innovation to the public who wish to see change in the war on cancer.”

World Premiere of Posthumous Song

In June, Music Beats Cancer held its first reception at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego during the Biotechnology Innovation Organization annual conference in San Diego. The response was phenomenal. 

“Our event reached capacity, and the room filled up in nine minutes with hundreds waiting in the lobby and a line out the door, simply waiting to be part of it,” she said. “It was a good problem to have. People now know about Music Beats Cancer.”

This event was memorable in more ways than one. 

“Local band The Dandelion Dream debuted a song written by one of their members, Burton Sirota, who died of cancer,” she explained. “He wrote the lyrics while he was dying. None of his friends, the other band members, knew it at the time. They only put two and two together after he passed away and realized that he had written it in his final days. This song was produced and performed for the first time at the Music Beats Cancer Reception, and people were moved.”

Battle of the Biotechs

Dr. Jhaveri’s latest plan features a fun new way to combine music with innovation. 

“It occurred to me that we need a way to jumpstart these fundraising campaigns, so we came up with the idea we’re calling ‘The Battle of the Biotechs: Judged by Musicians,’ an idea similar to a pitch competition,” she stated. “The companies will be judged not by their potential valuation, but by the potential of their technology for reducing our global  cancer burden.”

“The judges will be philanthropic musicians of any age, genre, or location who support the Music Beats Cancer mission. “I’m after uniting popular culture with biomedical innovation to create a powerful way to bring unlikely stakeholders together to advance badly needed solutions for cancer.”

Dr. Mona Jhaveri is the founder, executive director, and chairman of the board at Music Beats Cancer. She launched the nonprofit to address the “Valley of Death,” the growing gap in funding that constrains the translation of cancer research discoveries into clinical applications.

‘Fighting All Monsters’: A Charitable Institution that Redefines Support for Families with Children Suffering From Cancer

There is nothing more worthwhile than having the ability to help others. The edifying feeling that comes with being able to alleviate others’ pains has proven to create a lasting impact that fuels some people to help more. Although this selfless act of lending a hand is easier said than done for some, others have made it their life’s purpose to ease the unfortunate circumstances that some people go through their lives. 

And with countless misfortunes that have taken over the lives of many, more people have stepped up to extend what they can to those who are continuously suffering.

Charged with a heart that can fill a void with its everlasting glow, Milk Tyson has sufficiently shown that the beauty in the act of helping is beyond the amount of money that one can pledge. Instead, it is defined in the dedication that a person is willing to devote despite the challenges that come with it. And with Milk’s immeasurable commitment to take the edge off of things, he decided to create Fighting All Monsters – an avenue where people can support and help each other as a FAMily.

Fighting All Monsters, also known as FAM, is a nonprofit organization designed to provide quality assistance for families with children facing one of the most life-threatening diseases known to man – Cancer. It mainly helps affected families go through these trying times with various resources that could ease the burdens that these people face almost every day. FAM also seeks to extend help by streamlining the process and cutting out complicated procedures for the families to acquire the needed aid.

However, FAM’s charitable pursuits are beyond its ability to raise funds for its beneficiaries. Apart from providing cash aid, FAM also sends gadgets to children in treatment for their entertainment, keeps the families’ rents and mortgages in check, and provides transportation for cancer patients to smoothly visit treatment facilities. FAM also launched programs that help other members of the family to cope with the crisis. They have recently introduced an avenue where mothers of Cancer patients can acquire decent fitting undergarments. And as the pandemic continues to plague countries worldwide, FAM has been able to provide emergency relief for these struggling families.

But apart from the variety of services that the organization has given to its beneficiaries, FAM takes pride in its ability to go beyond the whims and caprices of a cookie-cutter organization. While other charitable institutions boast of efficient and systematic ways to help more people benefit from their programs, FAM believes in the power of quality in tailor-fitted methods when giving aid. 

Through their efforts, FAM has reached out to thousands of families who deserve the help. The partnership they foster extends beyond the moment the organization has provided cash assistance to these beneficiaries. In other words, FAM’s support entails a lifelong commitment to each and every family.

FAM’s overarching altruistic vision owes much of its vigor to its founder’s zeal in helping families face adversity. Without Milk’s passion and devotion, FAM would have limited itself to the confinement of an ordinary fundraising institution.

To know more about FAM, you may visit their website.