Meet Mark Watkin. Since she was five, Mark’s daughter Sarah fought an aggressive and rare form of blood cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and although Mark and his wife Leah faced great adversity, they never lost hope. They started Sarah’s Drive for Hope, bringing together thousands of people in the fight against cancer. The community rallied together to support the Watkins and got individually swabbed in the search for potential stem and blood donors for Sarah, but no match was found. Through their drives, Mark and Leah were able to match stem and blood donors with other cancer patients and create a strong network of helping hands. Sarah fought bravely and sadly succumbed to her illness at the age of seven in 2014. Although Sarah is no longer with us, her strength, vibrancy, and kindness continue to live through her legacy of hope.
Mark and Leah honour Sarah’s memory through their continuous community philanthropic efforts. They are determined activists that continue to hold swabbing drives and raise funds for cancer research through Skate for Sarah and Sarah’s Drive for Hope. ICRF stands with the Watkins in their quest. For the first time in 40 years a cure for acute myeloid leukemia, the cancer Sarah had, is finally within reach. ICRF’s very own funded scientist Professor Yinon Ben-Neriah and his research team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a new biological drug with a cure rate of 50% for lab mice with acute myeloid leukemia. This promising new drug and the passion of the Watkin family are a reminder to all of us to never lose hope and to continue the fight to cure cancer.