One Goal: Prevent Cancer

By Giving List Staff   |   November 17, 2023
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.

Despite living with RUNX1 familial platelet disorder (RUNX1-FPD), Tim Babich lived a happy life with his wife, Monica. After the birth of their sons, their lives changed forever when they learned that Tim’s RUNX1 mutation had been passed down to one of their boys.

This diagnosis meant that their young son was at a greatly increased risk of developing blood cancer. For Tim and Monica Babich, this was unacceptable. 

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

Can you imagine waking up every morning wondering if today is the day you find out you have blood cancer? Or discovering you’ve unknowingly passed a rare gene mutation on to your child that makes it 30 times more likely they’ll develop a fatal blood cancer in their lifetime? These issues are a reality for RUNX1-FPD patients due to a hereditary mutation in their RUNX1 gene.

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, 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 that has very few dollars and 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 the malignant disease it will become.” 

Through their cutting-edge research, genetic testing awareness initiatives, and patient advisory committee who help guide this new era of cancer prevention science, the RUNX1 Research Program is dedicated not only to patient empowerment but population empowerment. After all, no one is living with a 0% 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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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

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 close to 400 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
Georgetta and Charles Blackburn
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
The Edward P. Evans Foundation
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Mark Foundation for Cancer Research
Chan Zuckerberg