Once a Buford Wolf, always a Buford Wolf. Anna Charles Hollis was only able to attend Buford City Schools for a couple of weeks, but to them, she will always be considered a Wolf.
Anna Charles Hollis, the six-year-old daughter of Benji Hollis, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl’s vice president of sales, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) on April 15, 2018. After a five-month fight, Anna Charles succumbed to the disease and passed away on September 16, 2018.
To honor Anna Charles’ life and to mark the one-year anniversary of her passing, the Peach Bowl announced a $20M donation to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and to the Peach Bowl LegACy Fund, named in her honor and meant to carry on her fight.
“The best way we can honor the life and legacy of Anna Charles is by investing in new drugs, new treatments that were not available to the Hollis family,” Stokan said. “This is how she will live on, by creating hope for all the other kids who will come after her. This is how we are honoring her memory.”
The Peach Bowl announced a historic $20 million gift to The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The donation represents the largest donation ever given by the Peach Bowl and one of the largest ever received by Children’s.
The $20 million commitment will establish the Peach Bowl LegACy Fund, which will be hyper-focused on funding clinical drug trials for the most promising new drugs and treatment options for children fighting cancer.
“Right now there is an urgent need for the advancement of new drugs and treatments for childhood cancer,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and president. “The Peach Bowl LegACy Fund is going to take the fight right to childhood cancer until a breakthrough is made.”
Last year more than 16,000 children were diagnosed with cancer in the United States. The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta diagnosed 488 of them. Historically, one out of every five of those children will not survive.
“With this support from the Peach Bowl, we are on a mission to change how we fight cancer in the future, starting right here in our hospital. The $20 million Peach Bowl LegACy Fund is going to give hope to families in Atlanta and beyond,” said Donna Hyland, CEO of Children’s. “We are so thankful for the longstanding relationship between Children’s and the Peach Bowl and for the Peach Bowl’s significant investment in finding cures for kids with cancer.”
Annually, only four percent of the National Institute of Health’s federal funding for cancer research benefits childhood cancer, making it nearly impossible to move the needle on clinical trials for new drugs. In the last 40 years, only one out of every 22 cancer drugs approved were approved for use in children.
The overall goal of the Peach Bowl LegACy Fund is to ensure that high-priority novel agents, devices and treatment strategies can be tested in patients at an accelerated pace, eventually leading to additional treatment options for our patients.
“The Peach Bowl LegACy Fund will be unique in that it will be earmarked specifically for research and clinical trials to develop more effective and less toxic treatments for our pediatric patients,” said Dr. Douglas Graham, chief of The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “This is a very rare and special circumstance where the greatest need will be targeted and met with funds that can make a difference. We at the Aflac Cancer Center are very appreciative for these funds and for the potential this has to positively impact so many of our patient families.”
The Peach Bowl LegACy Fund will provide $20 million over the next five years. Funding will be specifically targeted to developing drugs for childhood cancer that physicians at the Aflac Cancer Center believe have the best chance at success.
The Peach Bowl Touchdown’s for Children’s campaign provides an opportunity for college football fans to pledge money for each touchdown their favorite team scores during the season. The Peach Bowl then matches, dollar for dollar, all money raised during the season.
Over the last two seasons, Peach Bowl Touchdowns for Children’s has raised $443,000 for Children’s. With the Peach Bowl match, the total raised over the last two seasons is $886,000.
Directing funds from Peach Bowl Touchdowns for Children’s campaign in 2019 could result in an additional $500,000 match for a total of $1 million for the Peach Bowl LegACy Fund. The Peach Bowl will continue to match funds raised by the campaign on a dollar for dollar basis.