In the second week of their 6-year-old son Pablo’s treatment for cancer last year at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Dangerbird Records president Jeff Castelaz and his wife, Jo Ann Thrailkill, became very aware that the hospital staff and families around them could use some help.
“It just seemed like we were in an environment that was really, really stressed out,” Castelaz tells Billboard. “And we thought we could help.”
Although Pablo lost his yearlong battle with bilateral Wilms’ tumor on June 27, 2009, his parents vowed to ease the suffering of other families dealing with the pain of childhood cancer by starting the Pablove Foundation. To date, the nonprofit has raised more than $500,000 through benefit concerts and last fall’s inaugural cross-country bike ride, Pablove Across America.
In addition to giving money to children’s hospitals in Arizona, California, Texas and Wisconsin, the Pablove Foundation has assembled a scientific advisory board that will assist the organization in finding cutting-edge pediatric cancer research to donate to. Later this year, the Pablove Foundation will also host its first Wilms’ Tumor Symposium in Los Angeles and launch the Pablove Shutterbugs program, which aims to teach photography to children with cancer.
“Anything we can do to help get people together and get them out of that lonely, isolated place that cancer puts you in, we’re doing that,” Castelaz says.
Castelaz is currently gearing up for the second Pablove Across America ride, which begins Oct. 1 in Seattle and ends Oct. 21 in Los Angeles. To participate in the 1,425-mile trek, cyclists must raise $10,000 per week for the foundation. “All you have to do is show up with your bike after you’ve raised a ton of money for the charity’s mission,” he says.