Our Founder

Susan L. Weiner, PhD


Susan founded Children’s Cancer Cause (originally named The Children’s Cause, Inc. and then the Children’s Cancer for Cancer Advocacy) in 1999 to give voice to the concerns of childhood cancer patients, survivors and their families and empower them to take on leadership roles in pediatric cancer advocacy.

"The complex challenges of developing new therapies for children with cancer, and emerging knowledge about the harmful effects of current therapies were the founding ideas behind Children’s Cancer Cause. In 1999, families’ and survivors’ urgency and perspectives on the need for new treatments and the struggles of survivors seemed to be absent in national cancer policy debates.

Like many of you, this mission was derived from personal experience. My son Adam spent his 13 years of life struggling with a brain tumor, its treatment and aftermath. For me, the joy of his childhood was entangled with anguish about the inadequacy of treatments to make him well and the dire absence of interventions to help him develop normally.

We’ve come so far. We’ve labored nationally to give childhood cancer friends, families and survivors the knowledge and skills to become informed responsible advocates. We’ve helped create a vibrant, collaborative, action-ready national community. We’ve been a catalyst for national recognition of childhood cancer concerns as founding members of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer and the Coalition Against Cancer Advocacy.

Working with partners on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies and in other childhood cancer organizations, we’ve achieved legislative victories in pediatric drug development, survivorship support, and meaningful health care reform for survivors.

But we have much more work to do.

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Dr. Weiner, whose child was a 13-year cancer survivor, has been key in bringing childhood cancer to the forefront of the national cancer policy agenda. She has served on multiple committees of the Institute of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration, and the US Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to service on other nonprofit boards, she has provided long standing oversight to the Children's Brain Tumor research funding programs. 

Dr. Weiner is also a founder of the Mary McDowell Friends School, an independent school for children with learning disabilities in New York City.

Susan Weiner is the recipient of ASCO's 2017 Partners in Progress Award. The Partners in Progress Award recognizes a person involved in patient advocacy activities that have an impact on public awareness about cancer, its causes, cures, or treatment, or activities that result in additional support either legislatively or fiscally for cancer research, treatment, prevention or care.