What is The Nathaniel Adamczyk Foundation?
The Nathaniel Adamczyk Foundation (NAF) is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to preventing common childhood infections – like flu or pneumonia – from progressing to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in children. Our focus is on prevention rather than treatment because, unfortunately, very little research is conducted on prevention – especially in children – so the factors that make certain children susceptible are still unknown.
Nathaniel Adamczyk was a healthy 2-year-old boy from Wynnewood, PA. In April 2004, after having minor cold symptoms for one week, Nathaniel suddenly (within 48 hours of seeing his pediatrician) began having difficulty breathing. He was rushed to the pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. After two weeks of intensive care, Nathaniel died.
Nathaniel’s parents, Iris Melendez and Hank Adamczyk, were inspired to raise funds for other families facing similar circumstances. Enough funds were raised to create an endowment at CHOP that still exists today. In 2006, NAF was incorporated and received official IRS exemption as a 501(c)(3) public charity. A board of directors was formed to guide the strategic direction of the foundation, and in 2008 NAF made its first medical research grants to two distinguished researchers at leading American pediatric institutions.
The work of the Foundation continues today, with a laser-sharp focus on saving the lives of children who develop sudden respiratory distress as a result of a common, everyday childhood illness. Ultimately, we want our research to help create a diagnostic test for use by primary care physicians or emergency physicians (not just ICU physicians) to identify children in early stages of respiratory failure and halt the progression before it becomes an emergency.
Beginning in April 2010, in collaboration with leading researchers across the country, NAF is undertaking a breakthrough approach to solving the mystery of pediatric ARDS: harnessing the data that is scattered across the country at hundreds of pediatric hospitals, bringing it into a single national database, and enabling research into the genetic, genomic, biologic and environmental factors that predispose a child to ARDS.