One Goal: Prevent Cancer

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022
Would you still be smiling after having 29 vials of blood drawn? For RUNX1-FPD patient Brennan, this is just part of life. He, his father, and one of his brothers visit the NIH annually to check for any changes in their blood and bone marrow that might indicate early signs of blood cancer.

Before 2009, Tim and Monica Babich were living in denial about Tim’s RUNX1 familial platelet disorder (RUNX1-FPD). After Tim’s aunt passed away from complications due to her RUNX1-related cancer, it became apparent that one of their sons carried the mutation, too. They realized denial wasn’t going to work.

“When they found out that one of their two sons had this disease, and had a greater risk of developing blood cancer, they started doing more research,” says Executive Director Dr. Katrin Ericson. “They quickly learned there wasn’t a lot out there. There was very little research on this disease.”

With a one in two chance of developing a fatal blood cancer, those born with a RUNX1 mutation grow up knowing any day could be the day they receive devastating news. And with little to no medical research on the disease development and outcomes, families with this disease are stuck navigating life in the dark. Determined to change this for the better, Tim and Monica Babich founded the RUNX1 Research Program.

So much about the process of cancer development is still unclear. Why do only some people develop cancer? What protective factors are present in those who do not develop cancer? How can this information be utilized to help prevent cancer?

By pursuing these questions, the RUNX1 Research Program is not only contributing to a better understanding of all cancers and positively changing the lives of those born with the RUNX1 mutation, but they are also paving the way for an under-researched area of cancer-prevention medicine.

“If you look at the dollars being spent on cancer research, 90% of it is going towards cancer therapeutics,” says Dr. Ericson. “Instead, we’re focusing on an area of significant unmet need – one with very few dollars ascribed to it and yet huge potential. Let’s identify the disease as early as possible, before full-blown cancer, through advanced early-detection methods, and then let’s intervene. Let’s prevent it from turning into malignant disease.”

Through cutting-edge research, genetic testing awareness initiatives, and an active patient advisory committee helping to guide this new era of cancer-prevention science, the RUNX1 Research Program is dedicated to patient empowerment and population empowerment. After all, every one of us lives with a risk of developing cancer.


RUNX1 Research Program 

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(916) 212-0410
Director of Development : Alex Gonzalez


To improve the quality of life and prevent cancer in patients with RUNX1-FPD. We do this by promoting awareness and funding world-class collaborative research with an empowered patient community. 

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Before we started the RUNX1 Research Program, we didn’t know of anyone else having RUNX1-FPD beyond our family – but we knew others like us were out there, waiting to be found. Over the past six years, we’ve had over 300 patients join our community from across the world, and we know there are so many more. We are proud that RRP has granted over $11M to support 31 research projects towards finding a cure to benefit all our families.
Monica Babich, RRP co-founder, wife and mother of patients

Stop Cancer in Its Tracks

As part of their mission to stop cancer in its tracks, all donations to the RUNX1 Research Program fund cancer prevention initiatives – a mission that has never been more important. Medical professionals predict that, in the next year, cancer will become the number one cause of death in the United States. Your donations to the RUNX1 Research Program will fund research at the forefront of cancer detection and intervention. By studying the earliest signs of cancer today, we can prevent a fatal diagnosis tomorrow.

Key Supporters

Tim and Monica Babich
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
The Edward P. Evans Foundation
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Mark Foundation for Cancer Research