“I want to start a foundation for kids going through what I’m going through”
On March 8, 2022 our lives changed forever when we lost our son Charlie after a courageous two-and-a half-year battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer that affects approximately 350 kids yearly. There are no words to describe the unimaginable loss and bewilderment we feel over losing Charlie. There are simply no words, yet, there is so much to say.
To know Charlie was to love him. Often people would comment on his million-dollar mega-watt smile. As a little boy, he exuded such a zest, playfulness and joy for life. As a teenager, his sense of humor, his warmth and his energy were always buzzing. He was happy and fun to be around. He had a bright future and so much good ahead of him.
Charlie was a lover of all sports, Soccer, Basketball, Paddle, Skiing and Swimming just to name a few. But he found his true love in Baseball.
Charlie’s love of the game grew and became his passion. His love for pitching meant the world to him. Throughout his treatment, no challenge was insurmountable if it meant he would have the opportunity to get back on the mound, competing with his teammates.
In 2019, Charlie Landers was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma after suffering from persistent back pain. This rare pediatric cancer was located in his pelvic bone and surrounding soft tissue. The diagnosis was followed by a year-long treatment protocol of dual chemotherapy and proton radiation therapy. Charlie underwent:
Despite the challenges, Charlie carried on with dignity and a fierce sense of humor. He mowed down his treatments like an absolute champion, with the support of his family and the medical team at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
In late August 2020, Charlie joyfully rang the bell signifying the end of treatment. After scans revealed No Evidence of Disease in September, he was declared in remission.
Our family was elated to finally have Charlie see his cancer battle in his rear-view mirror. Normal life resumed as much as it could during the simultaneous Covid-19 pandemic.
"We never uttered the word recurrence, we never let our thoughts go there. We were terrified to consider an uncharted path or an unmapped protocol. That is the reality of relapsed Ewing's. Our ability to fight for the lives of Ewing's Sarcoma patients shouldn't be limited by the rationale of rare research dollars. No parent should have to tell their child that we've run out of options. No patient should have to hear that."
Mark & Lisa Landers
Sadly, in January 2021, Charlie suffered a seizure which led to the discovery that his cancer had returned to his brain with two spots in his frontal lobe.
This return to battle started another round of familiarizing themselves with the cancer world that they were so happy to leave behind.
Radiation effectively treated the lesions in his brain, but due to the timing of the recurrence, it was challenging to treat. Charlie underwent more chemotherapy, trials, and a Phase 1 CAR T cell immunotherapy treatment at Seattle Children's Hospital, which proved unsuccessful.
Charlie succumbed to Ewing’s shortly after their return from Seattle. He died peacefully at MSK, surrounded by family and his amazing team of doctors and nurses. The loss of Charlie has left a hole in the family's hearts that will never mend.
Through his Foundation, his lasting legacy of strength, perseverance, courage, and compassion for others will guide us as he helps those affected by Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Join us in the fight against Ewing’s Sarcoma by exploring the many ways you can get involved and make a difference. Whether you donate, sponsor a comfort kit, or participate in an event, your support helps us improve the lives of those affected by this rare and devastating pediatric cancer.
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Our success is ultimately measured by our ability to empower patients to strike out Ewing’s Sarcoma. In our first year we allocated over $350k to four high impact grants in the ongoing search of a cure. Our next fundraising target is to raise $400,000 for our 2024 grant cycle.
Join us in our mission to raise awareness, provide critical support to pediatric and young adult patients, and fund research to find a cure for this devastating disease by making a donation today.