The Keira Grace Foundation held their annual Share the Cure gala Saturday, February 5th at Valley View in Alachua. The event’s fundraising exceeded expectations with a total of $250,000 raised all due to the generous support of the greater Gainesville community. Such generosity will allow the expansion of the Keira Grace Foundation’s successful life-saving programs in the Dominican Republic into Brazil and Colombia.
Drs. Eileen and Michael Lauzardo’s children were simultaneously diagnosed with leukemia as young children. Their son is a survivor but their daughter, unfortunately, passed away from cancer. Years later they are continuing to share their story as a platform to help others.
“As unthinkable as that time was, you could write volumes about what we experienced. Out of that extraordinary experience, we felt led by our faith and our professional experiences to create the Keira Grace Foundation and as a result hundreds of children are alive today that otherwise would not be,” said Dr. Michael Lauzardo.
The Share The Cure fundraiser has been taking place ever since the organization was established in 2005. Dr. Michael Lauzardo said this fundraiser allows the organization to help others in low-income countries obtain access to cancer treatment.
“All year long we are working with countries to help them improve the care of children with cancer in poor countries of Latin America by providing staffing, training, infrastructure and consultation. Literally now there are hundreds of kids alive today because of the work that we’ve done,” said Dr. Michael Lauzardo.
In October, the foundation began their relationship with CONIACC, a Brazilian nonprofit that provides assistance for children and adolescents with cancer, through the integration of 48 institutions throughout Brazil. CONIACC and KGF will be working together to bring treatment to children in Recife, Brazil, in one of the poorest regions in the country. There are plans to begin working with a similarly focused non-profit in Colombia to improve cancer surveillance in children with the goal of saving poor children with cancer there as well.
“In the United States, if your child is diagnosed with cancer, your child has an 80% chance of being cured. If that same child is diagnosed with cancer in one of these poor countries where we work that child has an 80% chance of dying. A few hundred miles of salt water between us and them should not be the difference between life and death,” emphasized Dr. Michael Lauzardo.