Media Contact:
Annie Kessler
The National Children’s Cancer Society

The National Children’s Cancer Society Celebrates 30 Years of Global Outreach Program

The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) proudly celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Global Outreach Program at the end of 2023. Since the program’s inception, this vital initiative has transformed the lives of thousands of children diagnosed with cancer worldwide.

In higher-income regions, the survival rate for children diagnosed with cancer is a promising 80% thanks to early detection and access to effective treatment. However, in developing countries where the Global Outreach Program focuses its work, survival rates plummet to less than 30% due to the lack of essential medical resources for screenings and consistent care. Over the past three decades, the Global Outreach Program has remained dedicated to addressing the critical disparities in childhood cancer treatment between high-income and developing countries by providing lifesaving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

The Global Outreach Program (originally established as The International Program) began with a pioneering shipment of chemotherapy drugs to The Research Institute of Pediatric Hematology in Moscow; a bold step that earned the NCCS a prestigious humanitarian award in its founding year. This donation occurred through a coincidental plea from the institute for chemotherapy drugs at the same time a pharmaceutical company contacted NCCS to offer excess products for donation. This monumental moment forged a clear path for the organization’s newest program.

The Global Outreach Program’s impact was further solidified in 1994 with an emergency shipment of medicines to Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Charity.

In 1995, the program received a significant endorsement from the International Trust for Children’s Healthcare, appointing NCCS as the United States Ambassador to the Trust. This honor reflected the NCCS’s commitment to addressing urgent medical needs globally.

Throughout the years, the Global Outreach Program steadily gained crucial support from over 80 pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., offering surplus products that would otherwise go unused and later be destroyed. The NCCS covers the costs of each shipment of donated products and supplies to our partnered hospitals, allowing them to focus their budgets elsewhere within the facilities. It is important to note that children receiving treatment at hospitals assisted by the Global Outreach Program are never burdened with the cost of treatment, allowing their families to focus solely on their children’s recovery and health.

Nubia Zuniga, President of Fundación Hondureña para el Niño con Cáncer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Since receiving its very first donation of medications, the program has distributed over $471 million worth of donated pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to 111 facilities across 53 countries. The program has impacted children’s lives in Guatemala, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Syria, Mexico, and beyond. This effort has given help and hope to an estimated 204,000 children with cancer.

Nubia Zuniga, President of Fundación Hondureña para el Niño con Cáncer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, shared: “Through your donations, we have been able to deliver medications to children who suffer from cancer and continue working towards saving more children’s lives. Your support through the years has kept us going even in the toughest of times!”

Michele Hertlein served as the Vice President of the Global Outreach Program at The National Children’s Cancer Society

The program’s 30th anniversary cannot be commemorated without also celebrating the work of Michele Hertlein, who served as the Vice President of the Global Outreach Program at The National Children’s Cancer Society. Michele dedicated 24 years to growing the program, securing and shipping medical supplies to pediatric treatment centers worldwide. This role became even more personal to her when she received her own cancer diagnosis. She devastatingly succumbed to her disease in 2020 after an inspiring decade-long fight.

As the Global Outreach Program marks its 30th anniversary, the NCCS remains steadfast in its mission to improve access to life-saving cancer treatment for children worldwide. The organization looks forward to continuing its work and expanding its outreach to save even more lives in the coming years.

For more information about The National Children’s Cancer Society and its Global Outreach Program, please visit

About The National Children’s Cancer Society:

The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) tirelessly and compassionately supports families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer. With over 35 years of experience serving over 49,000 children with cancer, the NCCS has become a master navigator of this world, helping families get where they need to be – physically, financially, and emotionally – to give them hope and to give their children the best possible shot at survival.

With the help of compassionate donors, the NCCS has distributed over $71 million in direct financial assistance to families in the United States. This allows the NCCS to take a clear path through the complexities of childhood cancer and survivorship to help families stay strong, stay positive, and stay together. Because no family should go through childhood cancer alone.™