After Ian died, Besner was anxious about whether her other sons, Grant, now 16, and Noah, now 14, were at risk. (They weren’t.) The Besners learned about Dr. Thomas Look at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, and visited him in his lab, where he and other scientists were working on targeted therapies.
“That got our eyes open, that we should get behind targeted therapy,” Besner said.
In 2008, Besner helped found what is now known as the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer, www.cac2.org, which helps pediatric cancer charities pool resources to review and fund grants.
“Even if the research we’re funding has the potential to save 20, 30, or 100 kids, it’s worth it,” Besner said. “This should be important to anyone who has a child that they love, because cancer can strike at any time.”
The celebrity chef fundraiser was the brainchild of Michael Moran, chef instructor at Florida International University, and his wife, Elaina, whose son David was a close friend of Ian’s. Other participating chefs are Norman Van Aken, director of Tuyo Restaurant at the Miami Culinary Institute; Dena Marino, chef owner of MC Kitchen in Miami; Max Santiago, executive pastry chef at Swine Southern Table and Bar in Coral Gables; and Vince Naverete, executive sous chef for Levy Restaurants at Marlins Park.
“Children need targeted treatments and the community needs to be informed,” Moran said. “What better way to get the word out than a celebrity chef dinner? Ian would have liked that.”
Besner said the research is being done. It just needs funding.
“The faster we raise money,” she said. “The sooner it can happen.”