Casa de la Amistad Convenes Pediatric Cancer Forum

AbbVie Foundation and Direct Relief Support Improved Access for Underserved Mexican Children

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 8, 2017— Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer I.A.P convened business, government and humanitarian leaders to discuss the state of cancer care in Mexico, including treatment gaps and opportunities to improve outcomes.

In Mexico, it is estimated there are more than 5,000 new cancer cases diagnosed per year, and around 2,300 children die because of the disease,” said Dr. Jose Meljem Moctezuma, Mexico’s Subsecretary of Health. “Therefore, collaboration between the health sector and civil society helps to strengthen strategies that promote healthy lifestyles and effective access to health services. These services contribute to early detection, integrated disease management and provide support to affected families.”

In addition to Dr. Moctezuma, the cross-sector forum included representatives from Direct Relief, the AbbVie Foundation, Hospital Centro Médico Siglo XXI, and Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez.

Mexico Forum on Pediatric Cancer, Casa de La Amistad, Mexico City, Feb. 7, 2017 Source: Direct Relief

Children diagnosed with cancer from families of limited means often lack access to medical treatment because their parents cannot afford to travel to Mexico City. Of those who make the trip, too many families abandon treatment due to the lack of affordable housing options. Forum participants agreed that addressing obstacles to care requires collaboration among the public, private and humanitarian sectors to create results beyond what they could do individually.

“By making it easier for children fighting cancer to begin and continue treatment, we can help them and their families focus their energies on getting better,” said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief. “Direct Relief is grateful to collaborate with Casa de la Amistad and the AbbVie Foundation to help children survive cancer.”

Participants cited the partnership among Casa de la Amistad, Direct Relief, and the AbbVie Foundation as an example of such cross-sector collaboration.

“Our partnership with Casa de la Amistad and Direct Relief is a strong example of the value of collaboration in improving access to health for those most in need,” said Melissa Walsh, Vice President, AbbVie Foundation. “We are committed to leveraging our partnerships, resources and employees here in Mexico to make a remarkable impact in the lives of pediatric cancer patients and their families.”

By leveraging financial support from the AbbVie Foundation and logistics support from Direct Relief, Casa de la Amistad is helping families stricken with cancer by offering free transportation, lodging and meals.

“It is with this kind of help and joint efforts that we are able to advance in this important national challenge with a greater impact,” said Maripaz Sáenz, President of the Board of Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer. “We are very grateful to our allies as these resources not only bring hope, but really contribute to saving lives.”

About the AbbVie Foundation

The AbbVie Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation, is dedicated to having a remarkable impact on the lives of the underserved around the world through a commitment to building strong communities, sustainable health care systems and effective educational programs. For more information please visit

About Casa de la Amistad para Niños con Cáncer, I.A.P.

A registered humanitarian organization, Casa de la Amistad has focused its efforts over the past quarter century on increasing the survival rate of over 8,800 children and adolescents with cancer in Mexico. Learn more at

About Direct Relief

Founded in 1948, Direct Relief is a California-based nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian medical aid in all 50 states and more than 70 countries, with a stated mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations.  With a registered affiliate in Mexico since 2014, Direct Relief supports underserved patients within the country via donation of high quality prescription pharmaceuticals and medical products, as well as long term programs that address serious disease, disasters and emergencies.