According to Osteosarcoma Institute Development Manager Vivian Laws,
“When Highland Park High School alum Willie Tichenor was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2003, he asked his parents to help find new and less-toxic treatments for others fighting the most common form of childhood bone cancer.
“Sadly, new treatments didn’t come soon enough for Willie, and he passed away in 2006. Before his passing, however, he helped his friends and parents found QuadW, an organization dedicated to providing higher-education scholarships for students and sarcoma research. But as QuadW approached its 10-year anniversary, a stark consensus emerged: there had been no progress in osteosarcoma treatments in the last 10 years. In fact, there had been no improvements in several decades.
“Willie’s parents, Lisa and Mac Tichenor, along with Willie’s closest high school friends, spent the next 18 months evaluating the impediments to progress and possible solutions. They examined successes in other cancers, and conducted interviews and brainstorming sessions with sarcoma specialists, the broader cancer community and healthcare visionaries.
“The result of these efforts is the Osteosarcoma Institute, an organization whose mission is to dramatically increase treatment options and survival rates in patients by identifying and funding the most promising clinical trials and science.
“’It’s not because it’s the right thing to do,’ says Willie’s dad and OSI President Mac Tichenor, former CEO of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation and current head of Tichenor Ventures. ‘It’s because it’s unacceptable not to do it.’
“Led by a national team of renowned scientists across major cancer institutions such as MD Anderson, Dana-Farber, Memorial Sloan Kettering and others, OSI is now at the forefront of osteosarcoma research and employs resources that had been previously unavailable. As a virtual institute, OSI and its board are not limited by geography, primary institutions, or traditional review methods, and it is free to set the agenda in osteosarcoma research.
“In the three years since OSI’s founding, it has committed nearly $4 million to the most cutting-edge osteosarcoma research studies and clinical trials. It has even given families a seat at the table in the funding process by housing family funds, which can be applied by the family to new studies.
“This year, OSI partnered with Christine and David Martin, a North Texas family, to start a fund in honor of their daughter, Izzy Martin, who is currently in treatment. So far, they have raised over $100,000, of which 100% will be applied to a study of the Martins’ choosing.
“The OSI team hopes that participating in NTX Giving Day will provide an opportunity to amplify its mission and match the urgent need for osteosarcoma research. The institute really is a family affair — it’s founded by a father who lost his son; directed by a doctor who is tired of telling parents there are no more treatment options for their child; managed by a survivor; governed by friends who had to say goodbye too soon; and supported by you. And we at OSI are thrilled to join local nonprofits as a first-time participant in North Texas Giving Day 2021.”
* Photo credit: Jeremy Crooks Photography ** Photo provided by Osteosarcoma Institute *** Photo credit: Christine Martin
In 12 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $375 million into the North Texas community. In 2020, more than $58.8 million was raised through more than 106,000 donors benefiting over 3,200 area nonprofits.