Rutledge Cancer Foundation was founded in 2011, after 15 year old Carley Rutledge was diagnosed with stage IV Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer. When friends and family learned that patient care and survival rates of adolescents and young adults(AYAs) with cancer lagged far behind other age groups, they decided to take action.
For those diagnosed, life during and after cancer can be devastating for a myriad of reasons; interruption of education or career, infertility, chronic health issues, emotional issues, financial stress and many times, secondary cancers as a result of toxic treatments. Patients try to maintain a “normal” life, but suffer from the isolation that cancer brings and the life changing, and often deadly, side effects from toxic treatments. Rutledge Cancer Foundation was started to fill the care and research gap for this underserved cancer population. RCF’s first projects were a teen room at Cook Children’s Medical Center and Carley’s Closet, a gift closet on the Cook oncology floor for AYA patients to visit and select encouragement and care items. Since 2011, through thoughtful programming and collaboration with 13 medical centers, RCF has served the age specific needs of over 12,000 young patients and their families. We are proud to be the first organization in Texas to recognize and assist the AYA cancer population.
After a relapse in 2012, Carley participated in a cutting edge vaccine trial that put her cancer in remission for 8 years, allowing her to live life to the utmost. Tragically, her cancer returned in 2020, taking her young life at 27. Carley’s determination to bring community focus to the challenges and unmet needs of AYA cancer patients changed thousands of lives and will continue as her legacy of unrelenting positivity grows. Now more than ever, RCF is committed to defeating this devastating disease and to supporting young patients during and after their cancer journey.