In 2016, Monica Angel lost her 5-month-old daughter Emmi Grace to a rare and aggressive childhood cancer, known as ATRT. That's when Monica learned that only four percent of the $5 billion spent on cancer research annually is allocated to child cancers. Angel took it on herself to found Cure Kids' Cancer Now! to change that. Angel advocates on numerous levels for childhood cancer research, and is working to create a bank of childhood cancer tissues to help doctors share information about childhood cancer.
Years in St. Pete
My entire life, born and raised in Tampa Bay.
Organizations involved in
Cure Kids’ Cancer Now!, Hope for ATRT, Save the Kids Foundation
What gets you out of bed every day?
Fighting to be the best advocate that I can for childhood cancer research, and also to be a good mother to my daughter Nina.
Why St. Pete?
*Why did you stay in Tampa Bay?* Because how can you leave Tampa Bay? You go, you travel somewhere else and you realize that things aren’t quite the same. I love being in Tampa, we lived in Orlando for a couple of years and came back because Tampa has this small town feel while still having a big city feel. For us, it’s largely family related. We have a huge number of family and friends that live in Tampa but I like that when I go to the grocery store I know the people there. There’s not that anonymity of a big city.
What is one habit that you keep?
I color code everything. I am wildly organized. Everything in my life down to my calendar has been color-coded and I find it very helpful. To me it’s very soothing. I like checking things off lists so the colors kind of help with that.
Who are some people that influence you?
There are so many especially in the city of Tampa. I think there are really amazing leaders and examples that I’ve had to follow. Of course, my parents are two of the best that I could ever think of but by way of work, I think that there are a lot of amazing organizations and no shortage of good causes. We have this city that collaborates with one another, one that I would say is high on the list is a man by the name of Kyle Mathews, he runs a group called Beat Nb, which funds neuroblastoma and childhood cancer research. He’s been kind of a mentor to me lately and I really appreciate his help with that.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
A quote that I fall back on often is, “I love to disappoint you when I don’t fall down.” Because often times we hear that this is not work that can be accomplished, that we’re never going to find a cure for childhood cancer, or it’s just going to be too hard. For us, that’s just motivation, it just pushes us further.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I wish I realized how many people were going to give me silly bits of advice about how to cure childhood cancer. In fact, I just got a phone call the other day that was a man ranting and raving about how I should stop funding research for childhood cancer, I should just make sure that nobody eats sugar anymore. These kinds of things happen on a pretty regular basis so we just try to let these things roll off our backs, but I wish I would have known what was going to be coming so I could have been prepared for that.
Curing childhood cancer. Our goal is to Cure Kids’ Cancer Now! We have an explanation point in our name for a reason. The goal is right now. We try to present opportunities right now, today, to help us.