Media and cancer research giants, both with local roots, launch first fundraiser together

The Dad, a powerhouse national parenting brand started by a Butler County native, has partnered with Cincinnati-based The Cure Starts Now as the premier sponsor of “Hearts for Heroes,” a fundraising event for streamers to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research.

During “Hearts for Heroes,” each streamer will be matched with a young “hero” who is fighting brain cancer. The funds raised will benefit cancer research in honor of the “hero.”

The Cure Starts Now will compile all donor messages onto hand-written notes that will be mailed to the hero. Hearts for Heroes is part of a larger campaign, Nerf Cancer, which has the same underlying purpose – to cure cancer through streaming video games.

The Dad has been matched with LJ, who is currently fighting DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). LJ is an energetic 6-year-old boy who loves superheroes and playing video games, like Minecraft.

The Dad has been matched with LJ, who is currently fighting DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). LJ is an energetic 6-year-old boy who loves superheroes and playing video games, like Minecraft.

According to dipg.org, the five-year survival rate for DIPG patients is 2 percent. Thanks in part to a radical and promising phase two clinical trial funded by The Cure Starts Now, LJ will be four years post-diagnosis this month.

The Cure Starts Now was started in honor of 6-year-old Elena Desserich, a Cincinnati girl who battled DIPG. Today, The Cure Starts Now Foundation has over 40 locations in three countries and is the only cancer foundation dedicated to finding a cancer cure by focusing on one of the rarest, most aggressive forms of cancer. The Cure Starts Now has funded over $18 million in cancer research, resulting in over 115 cutting edge research grants in 15 countries since 2007.

“LJ is an absolute warrior,” said Joel Willis, the Butler County native who launched The Dad and is its editor-in-chief. “His strength and character inspire me every day. And above all else: I’ve never seen anyone build cooler Minecraft fortresses. Impenetrable! LJ is my hero.”

The Dad has hit the ground running by kicking off an initial fundraising stream featuring the New England Patriots’ Cody Davis and J.J. Taylor, and content creator SSG Neato. Their Rocket League community stream raised over triple their original fundraising goal.

The Dad is one of the largest and most engaging parenting brands in the world, part of a New York-based digital media empire of women-focused websites, tech publications and parenting titles. The Dad, which Willis created in 2017, was part of a sale of its parent company to current owner BDG Media Inc. that valued the overall company at $150 million.

The Dad creates funny, sentimental, helpful, and inspiring content that reaches millions of people every day. Its mission is to create an inclusive community that celebrates modern involved fatherhood and literally changes the perception of dads in a positive way. In 2019, The Dad created a place for members of their community to get together to talk about gaming, parenting, and parenting while gaming.

“We started The Dad Gaming as a way for parents and families to bond and connect over video games,” said Willis. “We love celebrating the positive aspects of gaming. So, if we can use gaming to support the heroes out there fighting pediatric cancer, we’re going to squad up every time! The Dad Gaming team will do anything we can to level up in the battle against pediatric cancer.”


To learn more:
The Dad Gaming visit www.thedad.com/category/gaming/
Nerf Cancer visit www.nerfcancer.org
The Cure Starts Now visit www.thecurestartsnow.org

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