Crossing a Threshold

Smiley for Kylie is a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer. The mission was not hard to decide upon because it was exactly what Kylie told us to do before she died: cure childhood cancer. I am excited to say that we just crossed a threshold. Since Kylie was diagnosed in April of 2014, her impact has now driven over $100,000 into childhood cancer research.

Our little non-profit ended 2017 with a flurry of giving that took us to $111,000!

I am blown away by the generosity and hard work of family, friends, and people who never even met Kylie. Kylie’s family would also like to thank our Board of Directors who support us in everything we do. We love giving away money to fund research and I would like to share a little backstory that will help explain what guided our decisions.

When Kylie was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, my employer urged me to have the DNA of her tissue mapped. He was funding genetic research at MD Anderson and facilitated the testing of Kylie’s tumor. The hope was that the results would show which genes were over-expressed and causing the mutation of cells. At the time, this type of research was making its way into adult treatments for cancer. We soon found out that with children, we weren’t there yet.

The mix of chemotherapy and radiation she received was decades old. In fact, if I had gotten the same cancer when I was her age, I would have received the same treatment. With all of our advances in science and medicine, most treatments for childhood cancers have remained the same for forty years. While our doctors received complete DNA results from her tumor tissue, they had no use for the data. Her treatment didn’t change one iota because just three years ago, genetic testing had yet to impact care in children. But that is changing.

CURE Childhood Cancer has committed $4.5 million so that Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta can establish The Aflac Cancer Center’s new Precision Medicine Program. Joining a handful of existing programs, this innovative entity will take the fight against childhood cancer to the genetic level by identifying the root cause of the child’s cancer and targeting specific therapies directly to the wayward cells. No longer will we paint with a broad brush. Soon we will be able to isolate the offending cells and destroy only them. With success, this could become frontline treatment in the future; a child is diagnosed, their genes are sequenced, and a treatment is tailored specifically to their cancer.

Based on our cancer experience, this is a great step for children fighting cancer and Smiley for Kylie is proud to be a part of it by awarding a majority of our funding to CURE for this purpose. I wish we had more to give.

Another portion went to 1 Million 4 Anna – a non-profit that focuses solely on Ewing’s sarcoma research. The organization was founded by the Basso Family in honor of their lovely daughter, Anna who, like Kylie, succumbed to the disease.

Could 2018 be the year of great breakthrough? We hope.

And how would I feel if in 2018 our little organization had a small part in finding a cure for childhood cancer? I would be ecstatic. It would be the realization of my newfound and unfortunate life purpose. But I know there would be that small side of me that would ache that it was discovered too late for my little girl. I admit that I’m jealous now when I see good results posted and when I see the bell rung signifying the end of treatment. It hurts just a little because in Kylie’s ten months of treatment, we never got good news.

It doesn’t take long for me to snap out of it. Of course I want every child to beat this disease. I’m jealous, not inhuman. That is what Kylie would want, too. And I figure if I can be just a little more like her, maybe we can make a dent in this thing

17 thoughts on “Crossing a Threshold

  1. I hope you accomplish everything Kyle wanted you to do. What a special gift to your smiley daughter. I never met her but she brought me through some tough times (with a smile). Your family is an inspiration to me. Thank you for everything you are doing. Besides making my annual donation at Christmas time dedicated to Kyle is there anything else I can do for your sweet and loving family. If it is possible for me I will do it. Please do NOT hesitate to ask me for anything. It is the least I can do for a little girl that knew how to make this 56 year old adult find my smile! If you ever come to the Chicago area let me know as I will meet you in person with a montary gift from me and my children. Both my boys have serious health issues. However Kyle speaks to me and I want to help. Have a wonderful Christmas and let’s bring God back into everyone’s household.

  2. A wonderful achievement, Mark. Let’s hope that 2018 brings a breakthrough. I’ll be sharing this post in our children’s hospital cancer ward families Facebook group page here in Perth, Australia. Keep up the great work 🎗

  3. Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:
    “Smiley for Kylie is a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer.”

    What has this got to do with Church?

    Well if church is people not bricks – and if people are living not dead – then living people connect in love, hope, sadness, and very emotion going. Church is inclusive of all, not just hymns and prayers and sermons.

    Mark Meyer is living. His Smiley for Kyile is living. And Smiley for Kylie is founded on more love than I have a right to touch from so far away. And I hope you will be touched too.

    I hope you will share this love you are now connected to with others in your own life, and that they will be connected with your love and this love and that they will share it with their family and friends, and so on and so on …

    Love connects and love lives. And love is not just for Christmas.

    Thank you –


    (comments closed here, please let Mark know your thoughts, thank you)

  4. Thank you MEYERS FAMILY & especially KYLIE for helping in the search for the key that may very well unlock the doors to better treatment & cures for Childhood Cancer! You are a kindhearted, loving family. I will forever be sorry Kylie died from a dreadful Cancer and with her death, your lives are changed. Thinking of you this Season

  5. power on, amazing dad! this is amazing and my hope is that someday there will be a cure, you are helping it come closer to a reality every day. a gift to kylie and all those who came before and will come after her.

  6. Praise the Lord Mark. Lord let it be so. A cure for children’s cancer. Lifting you Mark.

    Merry Christmas and much love Tom

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