About Sky High for Kids
Funding vital research projects to improve survival outcomes and ultimately end childhood cancer.
Sky High is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Louisiana native, Brittany Hebert Franklin. Comprised of a devoted staff, board members, and an army of volunteers, we work tirelessly to support children undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Our efforts benefit leading hospitals and research centers by closing the gap in childhood cancer rates globally. The Sky High team is saving kids through advanced medical studies and healing families who are battling cancer now through our comfort programs.
- Funding a floor in the Advanced Research Center (ARC) at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
- Supporting the first and only pediatric cancer immunotherapy center at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center in Houston, TX.
- Building three training facilities in sub-Saharan Africa with Texas Children’s Hospital’s Global HOPE Program to increase capacity of medical care for the 100,000 children battling cancer and blood disorders in that region.
- Filling weekly wish list items needed for 20 families, 52 weeks per year at Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Center by supporting B.I.G LOVE Cancer Care.
Sky High for Kids’ vision is to help end Childhood Cancer. Sky High is funding revolutionary research projects that will not only advance treatment worldwide but also move the survival rate needle forward. Between supporting the first immunotherapy center dedicated to pediatric oncology in the U.S., to funding sub-Saharan doctors and health providers to train in pediatric oncology specifically to combat the abysmal survival rates in that region, to helping fund the largest research facility for Pediatric Cancer research in the U.S, Sky High for Kids is vetting and supporting projects that will have the largest impact on Childhood Cancer.
Share with us how you got started with Sky High for Kids.
When I was 16 years old, I walked the halls of St. Jude as I was volunteering with a group from Kaplan, Louisiana. During my visit I shared a bowl of gumbo and connected with a patient, Dalton, who had not eaten in days because of his chemo treatment. As I was surrounded by children fighting cancer, I vividly remember thinking how unfair it was for kids my age, younger or older to be fighting for their lives.
Fast forward a few years to when I was in college, I was challenged to raise $10,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by the same organization I volunteered with years prior. Always accepting a challenge, a group of girlfriends and I hosted a sporting clay tournament. Rather than donating $10,000, we donated $50,000. That sporting clay tournament became Sky High’s very first event!
What has been your biggest accomplishment for Sky High?
Throughout the last 13 years, we’ve had several big accomplishments but I think our biggest accomplishment thus far was completing our $5 million pledge to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital four years earlier than anticipated. Our $5 million donation supports their Eric Trump Foundation Surgery and ICU Center. As soon as we finished that pledge we began talking about the next pledge. And guess what, now Sky High has committed to raising $40 million to fund three projects with St. Jude and Texas Children’s Hospital! While we have 10 years to complete the pledges, I have an ambitious goal to complete them in less.
Has there been a child(ren) that has impacted you the most?
When we were making our first official donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – the $50,000 from our sporting clay tournament- a little boy pulled up in a red wagon named Bryce. He was a very kind, 5 year old boy, who was fighting Wilms Tumor. He was the relative of a founding Sky High board member, Jill Prudhomme, and also from Louisiana. I immediately felt very connected to him and his family. We were spending time with Bryce before he was going into treatment, when his dad, Dean, shared that he was terminal. Dean told us he had a dream to take his son on a hunting trip before he passed. Immediately, we all called everyone we knew in an attempt to make this happen for them. Before we knew it, we were flying his family to the 4M ranch, donated by Donald Mosing, and were enjoying an unforgettable weekend outdoors. Dean got his wish and Bryce had one last family trip. A few weeks later, Dean called to let us know that Bryce would be passing soon. I was on the road and next to Bryce’s bedside within hours. Bryce gained his angel wings on Valentine’s Day, February 14 which was his 6th birthday.
What are the ways we can help Sky High?
There are so many ways to support Sky High. You can join one of our events, help fundraise by joining a regional event committee, donate, volunteer or help support one of our programs. You can also make us your charity of choice, donate airline mileage, donate your hair for patients who’ve lost their hair due to cancer, you can select Sky High on Amazon Smile and so much more. We have something for everyone! Visit our website, skyhighforkids.org to find what’s best for you!
How do people become involved in Sky High?
Visit our website skyhighforkids.org to sign up for an event, make a donation, or find the right fit for you within our organization. You can also go to our contact button and send us your information to setup a call or meeting.
Is there a project you are most passionate about
I’m the most passionate about our patient support programs. We have a few but my favorite by far are our patient carnivals where we dress up in silly themes, dance, do arts and crafts, take pictures, have ice cream and other delicious food with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital. Our team- including our Board of Directors, and volunteers- get to see the families we’re impacting directly. Just for a few hours, the kids get to be kids, and forget about their illness. We’ve had parents smile and fight back tears as they tell us that their child hasn’t played, ran, eaten or smiled like they have at our carnivals… that right there makes it all worthwhile.
I hear Sky High is reaching children across the globe now, can you tell us more about that?
When Texas Children’s Hospital came to us with their pitch with the projects Sky High could support next, Dr. David Poplack, said to us “Do you want to end childhood cancer in the United States, or in the world?” Our answer was simple: we want to end it all over the world. To demonstrate the disparity, here are two eye opening statistics: In the U.S., nearly 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer, and 80% survive. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, 100,000 children are fighting cancer and 90% are dying. Why? The answer is simple. They don’t have the infrastructure, training or specialty trained doctors in these countries. Texas Children’s Global H.O.P.E’s goal is to help countries including Botswana, Malawi and Uganda build the training facilities, train their doctors in Hematology and Oncology, and in 20-30 years-time, allow the countries to sustain the new program themselves. And it truly starts from the ground up. Global H.O.P.E is going in to teach remote villages about the signs of cancer, recruiting doctors, nurses and more. There are many challenges, but they are relentless in the pursuit of healing children. Each 10% increase in survival, means 10,000 children are being saved. In Botswana alone, they had 9.6 million deaths to Childhood Cancer, that’s more than HIV, Aids and Tuberculosis combined. Sky High has committed to a $10 million pledge to help launch Global H.O.P.E. We paid for the education of the very first five fellows in Hematology/Oncology in sub-Saharan Africa, are helping construct training facilities and more. The impact is huge! This $10 million investment will outlive us all and will save millions of children for years to come.
How has COVID-19 effected your efforts this year?
Part of our mission is to bring the community together. Right out of the gates, two of our major partner events and four other events were cancelled resulting in more than $3 million lost revenue. Normally in one fiscal year we have upwards of 15 events. Sky High’s revenue predominately comes from fundraising events and when you can’t have in-person events you have to get creative. Within a month of everything shutting down, we hosted a Stay Home Gala and raised $100,000 in one hour. We hosted another virtual event, introduced a yard sign campaign, letter campaign and a few other peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. And yet, despite all of our efforts we are down 72% in revenue compared to this very time last year. Now, we’re planning on safely hosting five events in the remaining three months of the year. Every day, 43 families are hearing the words, “your child has cancer” so our work must continue so long as we can do it safely.
What does the future look like for Sky High? And you?
In our lifetime, Sky High will be able to look back and see the impact that it’s not only made in families lives during their time in treatment but also in the advancement of the survival rate due to our commitment to funding research. By 2028, we will have donated $60 million to help end Childhood Cancer.
I know you have an incredible team behind you at Sky High, What would you say to them?
Honestly, it’s beyond thank you for your hard work and dedication. Truly, it’s thank you for choosing passion and changing children’s lives over a paycheck.
Share anything else that is going on too.
We hope you join our fight to help end Childhood Cancer. Childhood Cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded. Right now, only 4% of government funding is allocated to Childhood Cancer in the U.S. Hospitals like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital, rely on funding from people and organizations like Sky High. Join our mission! Visit skyhighforkids.org to learn more!
Upcoming Houston Area Events. Visit our skyhighforkids.org/events to learn more and register!
- October 12, Young Professionals Golf Tournament
- October 18, Ladies Who Brunch
- December 3, Champions Phone-a-Thon