ENCINITAS — The all-volunteer Cure JM Foundation, founded in Encinitas, received the most votes nationwide, winning a $250,000 grant from Pepsi that will be used to find a cure for a rare, life-threatening childhood disease.
Pepsi is awarding grants to organizations with refreshing ideas to change the world. Cure JM Foundation competed in the Pepsi Refresh national contest in August and won first place out of 1,200 organizations. Cure JM will put every penny of the $250,000 toward research into a cure for Juvenile Myositis.
This grant is critical for Cure JM because pharmaceutical companies are not motivated to find a cure for such a rare “orphan” disease when the market potential is too small.
“Since JM only affects three children in a million, our community is much smaller than many of the organizations we competed against,” cofounder Shari Hume said. “However, what we lack for in size, we made up for in heart and determination. We used every tactic possible to win this grant, from social media and e-mails, to writing the voting information on our cars and bodies. Church ministers asked everyone to text their vote before services started; bands asked the audience to text before concerts began. College students had a fire drill and used the bullhorn to ask everyone to text their vote. Kids stood on street corners with signs to vote for Cure JM. Schools, baseball leagues, and other groups sent out mass e-mails about voting for Cure JM.
Hume’s 12-year-old son has been battling JM since the age of 4 and has spent more than 500 days at the hospital during the past eight years.
“And, we are the lucky ones,” Hume said. “Some children with JM suffer even more, some become debilitated and are in wheelchairs, and some don’t survive.”
There are more than 20 children in the San Diego area battling JM. For more information, visit www.curejm.org or contact Shari Hume at (760) 214-4004 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.