Switching the Summit is a short documentary film about the limitations of childhood cancer research which focuses on the stories of Alec Ingram and Elizabeth Weidner, both of whom experienced pediatric cancer. It is also an introduction to the Keep Climbing Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds and awareness for cancer research and other causes.
Alec Ingram was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2015 at the age of 11. During the course of his chemotherapy treatment, he developed cardiomyopathy and other serious complications. Despite overcoming numerous heart surgeries and fighting bravely, the fun-loving and passionate Ingram passed away at the young age of 14. In the film, Alec’s parents Jen and Chris Ingram share their story of learning their son’s diagnosis and what it was like to undergo this life-changing moment.
Elizabeth Weidner’s story also involves her painful battle with childhood cancer—a battle she lost in 2021. The founder of “Crowns Fight Cancer,” Weidner used her pageant crowns to spread awareness of pediatric cancer. Alongside the Foundation, Weidner served as a powerful advocate for childhood cancer patients and their families. Switching the Summit shares her powerful story of resiliency and giving back, in her own words. Crown Fight Cancer and The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation now work jointly on the legacy that Elizabeth established. As a childhood cancer warrior, Elizabeth advocated for those that couldn’t by utilizing her crown to change how the world viewed pediatric cancer.
Shockingly, most children with cancer continue to be treated by drugs that were developed in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. In fact, there’s been just three new drugs approved by the FDA in the last 20 years to specifically treat childhood cancer, compared to the more than 185 new drugs approved to treat adult cancer types over the same time period.*
“Nothing about pediatric makes biologic sense. No child should get cancer,” says Dr. Lauren Draper, who works in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology department of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. In the film, Dr. Draper points out that parents often ask her how and why their children ended up with cancer—and she says it’s very, very rare that she is able to give them an answer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, only 4% of the federal budget for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer. And our Foundation wants to help change that. Watch Switching the Summit[LINK] to learn more about the kids we’re fighting for, what we do, and how you can get involved.
*SOURCE: American Childhood Cancer Association