The purpose and mission of CancerFree KIDS is to eradicate cancer as a life-threatening disease in children by funding promising research that might otherwise go unfunded.

CancerFree KIDS was founded by Ellen and Sam Flannery after their baby daughter was diagnosed with cancer in both of her eyes at 5 months of age. Today, thanks to cancer research, that baby is a healthy college student.

At CancerFree KIDS, we do one thing. We fund childhood cancer research. Why?

Before promising new research has the potential to succeed, it must have resources to begin.

This is our work. Funding innovative research in its early stages.
Giving Hope. Saving Lives.

Owen's Survivor Story

Survivors Say Thank You

What Makes Us Different?

All of the vast improvements in the way we diagnose, treat and cure cancers have come as the result of research, and yet, pediatric cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded. Much more funding is needed to continue down the path toward a cure with increased speed. That’s what we are here for.

CancerFree KIDS funds innovative research that has the promise of gentler treatments and cures for children with cancer. We know that seed money for novel ideas is critical, and yet it is the most difficult type of funding to get.  Potentially game-changing ideas often go untried due to lack of funding.

CancerFree KIDS raises funds all year, through fundraising initiatives we host ourselves and those hosted by others for our benefit, and then we give it all away at the end of the year in the form of research grants. Then we start over.

Our Impact

Since our inception, CancerFree KIDS has funded 173 research projects totaling nearly $7 million. We accept applications from only a handful of institutions whose research we greatly respect and with whom we have a close relationship. Our funding goes directly to the research project where every dollar is accounted for. A follow up report assures that funding is used to maximum effect and we maintain communication with each researcher as we continue to follow their progress beyond our funding cycle.

CancerFree KIDS donors know they are making a difference and that we are good stewards of our donor’s dollars. We provide detailed Donor Reports so they know exactly what research their donations are helping fund. We even invite donors to a Research Grant Reception each year in Cincinnati, so they can learn more about the projects and talk directly with the grant recipients.

Watch the video from our 2019 CancerFree KIDS Research Grant Reception at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  Hear it first hand from some of our top supporters on what raising money for pediatric cancer research means to them and their continued efforts.

On June 17, 2019 CancerFree KIDS awarded $850,000 in research grants to projects at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, OH).  Over 100 CancerFree KIDS’ ambassadors gathered to celebrate this accomplishment.

Our Staff

Ellen Flannery, ellen@cancerfreekids.org
Founder and Board Chair

Jill Brinck, jill@cancerfreekids.org
Executive Director

Marcia Lechner, marcia@cancerfreekids.org
Event Manager

Nate Krugman, nate@cancerfreekids.org
Director of Development

Kathy Garry, kathy@cancerfreekids.org
Marketing Manager

Cindy Pilipovich, cindy@cancerfreekids.org
School and Hospital Programs Director

Kathy Haberer, kathyh@cancerfreekids.org
Database Manager

Sue Maples, sue@cancerfreekids.org
Chief Financial Officer

Cari Speed, cari@cancerfreekids.org
Peer to Peer Fundraising Coach

Ainsley Pruss, ainsley@cancerfreekids.org
Administrative Assistant

Our Board of Trustees

Al Early

Board Chair

Vice President and Principal, Consulting Services


Kelly Holden


Partner, Chair, Employment Law


Greg Carroll


Director, Technical Support Center

Office of Ground Water, U.S. EPA

Ellen Flannery



CancerFree KIDS

Barb Yearout

Operational Effectiveness Committee Chair


Chard Snyder

Margaret Van Gilse

Resource Development Committee Chair

Vice President, Business Development

Bexion Pharmaceuticals

Greg Morris

Co-Founder, CEO

Vertex Manufacturing

Javier Diaz

Vice President, Cancer and Blood Disease Institute

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Rob Reifsnyder

Retired, CEO

United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Tom Simpson

Chief Operating Office

Cincinnati Bell

Dave Reynolds

Senior Vice President

PNC Bank

Our Advisory Board

Sharry Addison

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Kathleen Conway Bell

Bistro Group

Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Barb Daugherty

Tom Daugherty

Procter & Gamble

Samuel Flannery

Williams-Gray Co.

Shayna Flannery

Childhood Cancer Survivor

Ken Jones

Turner Construction

Pepper Peale

Vehr Communications, LLC

Christi Cornette

Cincinnati Bell

Dr. Frank Smith, MD

UC College of Medicine

Lisa Rammes

Partner at Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson

Leigh Fox

CEO, Cincinnati Bell

Matt Olsen

Merrill Lynch

Jenni Roudebush

Associated Bank

Derek Roudebush

US Bank

Our Corporate Committee

Al Early



Christi Cornette


Ellen Flannery

CancerFree KIDS

Leigh Fox

Cincinnati Bell

Andy Kaiser

Cincinnati Bell

Steve Max

US Bank

Jamie Morgan

Merrill Lynch

Matt Olson

Merrill Lynch

Derek Roudebush

US Bank

Jenni Roudebush

Associated Bank

Bob Simons


CancerFree KIDS Medical Advisory Team - Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Joe Palumbo, MD


John Perentesis, MD, FAAP

James Geller, MD

Lee Grimes, PhD

Gang Huang, PhD

Biplab Dasgupta, PhD

Joseph Pressey, MD

Jose Cancelas, PhD, MD

Mohammad Azam, PhD

Stuart Goldsteain, MD, FAAP, FNKF

Brian Weiss, MD

Nocolas Nassar, PhD

Daniel Starczynowski, PhD

Andrew Volk

Laiman Wu, MD, MS

Benjamin Mizukawa, MD

Richard Lu, PhD

Mei Xin, PhD

Nancy Ratner, PhD

Christine Phillips, MD

Peter Deblank, MD, MSCE

Brian Turpin, DO

Michael Absalon, MD, PhD

Suzanne Wells, PhD

Robert Hennigan, MD

Ralph Vetner, PhD

CancerFree KIDS Medical Advisory Team - Nationwide Children's Hospital

Tim Cripe, MD, PhD


Emily Thiesen

Nilay Shah, MD

Ryan Roberts, MD, PhD



Ruoning Wang, PhD

Janet Oblinger, PhD

Brian Hutzen

Bhuvana Setty, MD

Meisam Naeimi Kararoudi, PhD, DVM

Adam Studebaker, PhD

Stephen Lessnick, MD, PhD

Jack Tokarsky, PhD

Andrea Byrum

2020 CancerFree KIDS Grant Selection Committee

Joe Palumbo, MD


Ellen Flannery

Founder, CancerFree KIDS

Jill Brinck

Executive Director, CancerFree KIDS

Greg Carroll


Doug Clapp, MD

CancerFree KIDS Volunteer

Barb Daughtery

CancerFree KIDS Volunteer

Lis Evenson

President, Evensen & Associates

John Griffin

Johnson & Johnson

Julie Goslee

CancerFree KIDS Volunteer

Jake Hendershot


Marcia Lechner

CancerFree KIDS Staff

Greg Morris

GE Aviation

Conor Neyer

CBRE Group

Amy Paribello

CancerFree KIDS Volunteer

Cindy Pilipovich

CancerFree KIDS Staff

Terry Rasch

CancerFree KIDS Volunteer

Doug Ransom

CancerFree KIDS Volunteer

Amy Wagner

CancerFree KIDS Volunteer