Anthony’s Avengers Defeat DIPG Foundation became the latest chapter of the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation Friday. The partnership will kick off with a small block party fundraiser in Mount Greenwood.
The block party Saturday in the 10800 block of South Trumbull Avenue also coincides with what would have been Pappalas' eighth birthday. He died March 9 after a 19-month battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG — a rare and aggressive brain tumor.
The group named for the boy who loved superheroes and nicknamed the face shield he wore during radiation his "Iron Man mask" now joins the Defeat DIPG Network, which has raised more than $1 million for DIPG research in less than two years.
The Maryland-based group also has chapters in Kansas, Texas, Washington and Washington D.C.
Anthony Pappalas was the middle child of Katie Gaskin's three sons. He wanted to be an astronomer for NASA when he grew up, and orange and gray ribbons were strung throughout Mount Greenwood supporting Anthony as he battled the disease.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma affects children between ages 5-7. Only 300 children are diagnosed each year with the condition in all of North America and Europe. It is typically inoperable because of its location in the brainstem where all motor activity is controlled.
The disease progresses by taking over a child’s motor functions, usually starting with vision and balance problems. It advances quickly, eventually halting the ability to breathe.
Anthony's tumor was detected as part of a routine eye exam ahead of Anthony enrolling in kindergarten at Mount Greenwood Elementary School. From there, the eye doctor recommended a specialist who made the diagnosis.
The Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation was created in June 2015. It is named for the late six-year-old son of Jenny and Mark Mosier. The group is accepting grant applications through Oct. 2 and expects to announce a research project by the end of the year.
“After watching our own children suffer from this disease, without hope for survival, we know the urgent need for medical advances focused on DIPG," said the foundation's executive director Jenny Moiser in a written release.
"It is a privilege to work alongside families who feel as passionately as we do about funding research to give children diagnosed with DIPG hope for a bright future,” she said.