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Ari’s Bears grants $30,000 to the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI) in support of rhabdomyosarcoma research

November 17, 2021 GMT

BEAVERTON, Ore., Nov. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Ari’s Bears, a Maryland based 501(c)(3) was started in 2018 by Ariella Stein as she bravely underwent her own battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma. She knew firsthand the challenges children faced during treatment and the toll that lengthy hospital stays had on kids of all ages. Ariella made it her passion to inspire and uplift children and their siblings currently undergoing cancer treatment. Her idea was simple, she wanted to bring comfort and joy to other children in the hospital and she wanted to use stuffed animals. “I want to do something, but I want to go to build-a-bear,” Erica Stein, Ariella’s mother recalls her saying. “Bears were just her thing. She began by using her own money to purchase and make stuffed animals that she later delivered to pediatric patients.”

Ariella was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in her right tibia when she was 9 years old. After 17 rounds of chemo and an extensive limb salvage surgery, she was declared No Evidence of Disease (NED). However, in 2018 she relapsed and ultimately died following complications from a bone marrow transplant on May 9th, 2019. Ariella was 11 years old.


Prior to her passing, Ariella was able to personally deliver bears to 7 local Maryland hospitals and respite houses. That was just the beginning. Thanks to countless volunteers and supporters, Ari’s Bears has given out more than 2,000 stuffed animals since 2018. “When children receive the stuffed bears there is an information card attached that shares Ariella’s story and the mission of Ari’s Bears. Her legacy is being able to bring joy to people who never would have known her. She left the world a better place than it was, and we’re honored to continue the work in her honor.” The success of Ari’s Bears has allowed the organization to expand on its mission to not only support children actively undergoing treatment, but to also award college scholarships and research grants.

Erica Stein became aware of the need for rhabdomyosarcoma research funding thanks to the advocacy of Megan Bugg, resident Citizen Scientist at the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute. Megan is a 6+ year stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma cancer fighter on a mission to make sure no more kids have to experience what she has gone through. With Ari’s Bears support, Megan and her thousands of Team Megan Bug supporters, have crowdfunded nearly $400,000 for rhabdomyosarcoma research at cc-TDI. Megan’s current project, Citizen Scientist Project for Rhabdomyosarcoma Cures aims to bring consumer level participation and new accountability to a new, strategic approach to developing, testing and prioritizing new rhabdomyosarcoma drugs for incorporation into cooperative group clinical trials.


Erica and Ariella first met Megan back in 2018 at Cure Fest, a multi-day festival in Washington DC each September that provides education and raises community awareness for childhood cancer. “I started following Megan’s fundraising and started learning more. I love knowing that cc-TDI puts an emphasis on finding less-toxic treatment options. Sarcomas are the rarest of childhood cancers and ultimately need the most research. Any progress in one area may offer help with another, and I believe providing a substantial grant to this project is what Ariella would have wanted.”

About cc-TDI: The Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI), ( ) is a non profit biotech organization whose mission is to translate scientific discovery into clinical trials by understanding and providing new disease-specific treatment options for children with cancer. cc-TDI’s research team of biologists and biomedical engineers, work closely to identify targets on cancer cells and provide evidence-based testing for the selection of new drugs to be used in childhood cancer phase I and phase II clinical trials. cc-TDI’s longstanding work with cell lines, mouse models, and sarcomas is the cornerstone for basic science and target discovery. Their research team is led by Scientific Director Dr. Charles Keller.

cc-TDI Media Contact: Erika Ellis, Communications Lead ( )

Twitter/Facebook: @cctdilab, Instagram: @cctdi

LinkedIn: Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute

About Ari’s Bears: Ari’s Bears was started as a Founding Hope Fund under the American Childhood Cancer Organization but has since moved on forming an independent 501(c)(3). We deliver brand-new stuffed bears and other animals to children fighting illness in hospitals and respite houses. Our mission has expanded to include fundraising for childhood cancer research. We also provide scholarships to childhood cancer survivors and fighters who have given back to the community, just like Ariella did.

Erica and David Stein, co-founders of Ari’s Bears ( )

Facebook: @ariellapaigestein, Instagram: @aris_bears

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