Dr. Scheurer is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, where he also directs the Texas Childrenâ€™s Cancer Center Epidemiology Program. His research examines molecular risk factors for childhood cancers, and he collaborates on large international consortium studies of a variety of risk factors for childhood leukemias and other cancers.
BRENDA M. BIRMANN, ScD
Dr. Birmann is Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Womenâ€™s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of hematopoietic malignancies, on oncogenic virus infections, and on the assessment of immune dysfunction for epidemiologic studies.
HANEEN YASIN ABDELLA, M.D.
Dr. Abdella, who was Oliverâ€™s oncologist at Miamiâ€™s Nicklaus Childrenâ€™s Hospital, graduated from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine before completing her Pediatric Residency in 2009. She fulfilled her Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology Oncology at Emory University, where her research earned her the award for Best Basic Science Young Investigator Abstract at the Childrenâ€™s Oncology Group Meeting, September 2012.
“The entire community suffered a great loss of this future Community leader. I never got to meet this young man personally but I saw his effort, play and leadership skills in full force vs. my son’s team last season. Great leadership on the field.”
Carlos Alberto Villagra
“There was a quality about Oliver that made everybody feel good about themselves.”
“Oliver inspires us all towards acts of thoughtfulness and kindness.”
“He seemed to be the most kind-hearted, funny, respectful, polite person I have ever met. He is the type of person people like myself strive to be like. He led by example.”
“He had a sweetness that captivated everyone, an air of confidence that made us trust him. He was kind and gentle, but determined and strong in his convictions. He stood up for the weak and spoke up for those who wouldn’t. He wasn’t afraid to stand out, show his feelings, and stand up for what he believed in. He had all the qualities of a true leader.”
“No hay un POR QUE en muchas decisiones de Dios.. Pero siempre hay un PARA QUE. La muerte de Oliver no sera en vano…”
Sofi, Matias y Luki
“Oliver permanecerÃ¡ por siempre jamÃ¡s en nuestros corazones y su luz siempre nos acompaÃ±arÃ¡ a todos aquellos que tuvimos la suerte de conocerlo.”
Ona, Roc, LÃdia y Sergi
“Oliver was different. He was mature beyond his years. It was incredible to me that such a young child was so responsible and hungry to learn. He had something that I could not teach, he had desire. He made it easy to teach him. Whenever I think I’ve worked too hard, I think of him. When I look back to the six years I spent tutoring Oliver, I’ve come to realize that all this time, he was tutoring me. He showed me what it means to truly put all of your effort into something. I saw compassion in his eyes. There was no darkness in Oliver, only light.”
“Oliverâ€™s life was of SACRIFICE! Even in death, he gathers and unites and enlightens! Oliver could walk into a room and light it up with his smile. He could make you roar with laughter. He could serve baked beans to a homeless person and make them feel they were at a banquet just for them. He combined wholesome mischief, Harry Potter-like mystery, and a sense of wonder that left you dazzled… [along with] his compassion and ability to gather up, hold up, and spread light in our lives.”
Father Michael Picou
“Oliver was not an ordinary child. He had a special aura and sweetness about him that made those who met him love him instantly.”
Why It Matters
One in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before 20. Cancer for people under 20 increased 34% in the USA between 1975 and 2010, from 12.9 to 17.3 per 100,000 people, according to official figures. It was projected to rise 22% again by 2014. Read more…
What We Do
The Oliver Forever Strong Foundation promotes the need to identify the causes of pediatric cancer and raises funds towards this research, principally via soccer-related activities including the sponsored provision of ultra-durable soccer balls to underprivileged communities. Read more…
Passion for soccer, compassion for the weak: Oliver, 12, died on Thursday June 18, 2015 within 36 hours of a leukemia diagnosis. Oliver was an elite-level goalkeeper who sacrificed himself to save his team on a regular basis. Now he is saving lives. Read more…
Artificial Turf Linked to Cancer?
â€˜The Turf Warâ€™ former US National Team star Julie Foudy examines the use of crumb rubber on synthetic turf fields and the 180 reported cases of young athletes (including 65 goalies) who have contracted leukemia…
The Oliver Forever Strong FoundationÂ has appointed a panel of scientists to assist in the identification and evaluation of research projects focused on the potential causes of pediatric cancer, and to seek to explain its significant increase in recent years.
In this regard, we are privileged to have the support of:
Drs. Scheurer, Birmann, Abdella and others still to be named will assist us in the process of establishing a structure and the criteria for the evaluation of project proposals, which will be subject to adjudication after scientific review by qualified peers under sound and properly documented procedures.
Multivariate cluster analysis of (brain, leukemia, lymphoma)Â incidence rates (adjusted for age and sex) for 2000â€“2010 in Florida.
One of the Foundation’s key interests is in environmental risk factors for childhood cancers. As such, one priority for research funds will be to support the design of innovative environmental studies of cancer etiology, including spatial and occupational cluster analyses to identify previously undiscovered risk factors for pediatric cancers. Other research priorities will be determined in consultation with the scientific panel in consideration of current knowledge gaps.
The interest in geospatial analyses is stimulated in part by five studies published recently by the American Statistical Association, the nation’s leading professional association for statisticians (see the full papers under Scientific Research). Of note, in those studies the incidence of pediatric brain cancer, leukemia and lymphoma between 2000 and 2010 in the region of southern Florida close to Lake Okeechobee and Miami (see map) was observed to be 35% to 52% higher than in other parts of Florida.
To fully understand those findings, further studies are needed to examine environmental risk factors that may explain the higher-incidence regions and identify strategies that could diminish risk. Thus, we intend to devote some of the research funding to support well-qualified scientific teams to collect and analyze data that might lead to a better understanding of the driving forces behind these cancers.
Governance We are a charitable foundation operating under the umbrella of the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
A Message from Oliver
According to the World Health Organization, carcinogenesis occurs in three main stages: “Initiation of the cancer occurs when an environmental agent such as a chemical, an infection or radiation successfully damages DNA and this damage fails to be repaired. During the next stage or promotion stage, further genetic damage occurs in the form of mutation until there is loss of regulatory processes and the cancer moves into the progression phase with tumor growth and metastases.” Childhood cancer is rising significantly, as you can see in the chart below. Why? What is causing it? Help us to find out to prevent others dying as young as I did.
Childhood Cancer Incidence Over Time (per 100,000)