A Love-Filled Life, a Cancer-Free Life
A Battle, a Balance, a Beginning.
The Pablove Foundation began in earnest when Jo Ann Thrailkill checked the balance of a paypal account. Friends and strangers had donated money into it, while her young son Pablo battled a kidney tumor. During and before Pablo’s battle, Mrs. Thrailkill worked as an executive producer for music videos. Then, just six days after his sixth birthday, Pablo passed away. Mrs. Thrailkill took a break from video production, and soon after that, she checked the balance of the paypal account for the cancer research fund that Pablo had inspired. In that account was $250,000.
“You need to executive produce this.”
Soon, Mrs. Thrailkill was getting requests for donations from pediatric cancer care and research organizations. Clearly, there was a gap in funding. There was a need. But Mrs. Thrailkill hesitated. She was still dealing with the loss of her son, and she sensed that running a non-profit would be full-on, and would be a big departure from her previous career making videos.
It was around this time that Mrs. Thrailkill and her husband discovered the photos. During the last months of his life, five year-old Pablo had taken dozens of photos, on computers and ipods, all without telling his parents. There were selfies and pictures of the dog, all “little gifts,” says Mrs. Thrailkill, composing a wonderful story of Pablo’s perspective.
Inspired by Pablo’s photos, Mrs. Thrailkill’s husband brought up the non-profit idea, and told her: “you need to executive produce this.”
Venture Capital for Cancer Research
It turns out that Mrs. Thrailkill’s skill set transferred very well to the role of non-profit CEO. During the Pablove Foundation’s first year in operation, the foundation raised $1 million, and began distributing research grants. They also started their innovative “Shutterbug” program, which is directly connected with their grant-giving in a beautiful way.
The Pablove Foundation gives research grants to “young” (meaning early in their career) medical researchers who have promising ideas for treating pediatric cancer. The Pablove grants support researchers who, like a startup company that can’t get a bank loan, cannot yet get a major grant with which to begin their research. That’s why Mrs. Thrailkill likens Pablove to “a venture capital fund for cancer research.” And they’re a good fund, at that. Their grant recipients are chosen by their scientific advisory board, which includes the doctor who treated Pablo, when he was sick. Earlier this year, one of their previous grant recipients was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health.
A Camera, a Sense of Control
Most of the Pablove Foundation’s grants are funded by private donations, fundraisers, and partnerships like the one with us here at glassybaby. Some of the grants, however, are funded by children with cancer.
Each year, in all 7 of the cities (soon to be 10) where Pablove works, the Foundation hosts a gallery show. On display are prints of photos taken by students who have studied photography in a rigorous class, with a specific curriculum, homework, and accountability. These students get to take this class, and receive a camera, for free. These students discover a new “sense of control,” Mrs. Thrailkill says, while their lives are otherwise punctuated by endless cycles of medical treatment. The proceeds from print sales at these gallery openings have now paid for one of Pablove’s $50,000 research grants.
The students who put their photos on display are part of Pablove’s Shutterbug program. They were children with cancer, whose lives were filled with love. On top of that, they got a chance to make their own personal art, and use it to help end childhood cancer, forever. All thanks to the Pablove foundation, and to Pablo.
10% from all online glassybaby sales during the month of september (excepting single-giving colors) will be donated to the Pablove Foundation, in support of their mission to help kids with cancer live – a love-filled life today, and a cancer-free life tomorrow.