• cancer is the leading (#1) cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the USA

    This year, an estimated 10,380 children in America will be diagnosed with cancer. Think about that for a moment. That's 10,380 FAMILIES that will be affected by this awful disease just this year. In moments you go from being a normal family with every day type problems, the next moment you hear THE NEWS and everything changes...forever. Is it treatable? Is the treatment worse than the cancer? What if it's TERMINAL? No parent should have to discuss this with their pediatric doctor and no parent ever wants to look into their childs eyes and tell them their childhood and possibly their life is over.

    Childhood Cancer is #1 Killer

    More children die of childhood cancer than any other disease—more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined.

    What About Research?

    Despite such staggering numbers, less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute's annual budget is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research.

    Pharmaceutical Companies are Researching, Aren't They?

    Sadly, NO. About 60% of all funding for drug development in adult cancers comes from pharmaceutical companies. For kids? Almost none, because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable.

    What About New Treatments?

    In the last 20 years, the FDA has initially approved only two drugs for any childhood cancer – 1/2 of all chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are over 25 years old

    71 Years Lost...

    The average age a child is diagnosed is 6; with the average year of life lost being 71. Imagine what those 71 years could have held - fishing trips, dances at the prom, graduation, college, family vacations, marriage? Children of their own? Perhaps even grandchildren. All gone.


  • The Beginning...

    In August 2016, the the Rutledge family started The Diamond Pediatric Cancer Society to honor their teenage son's remarkable journey. Riley passed away in late 2015 from Stage IV Glioblastoma brain cancer. In searching for all available treatment options, they found that there was only one course of treatment available due to a lack of funding along all lines of pediatric research.


    The outpouring of love and support from the community during Riley’s remarkable journey motivated the Rutledge’s to create an organization to help create awareness of pediatric cancer in New Mexico and the urgent need for increased funding for research. Although there are trials available for adults with cancer, children are usually excluded from these. In fact, currently less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute's budget goes to pediatric cancer research. 4% is NOT ENOUGH! Our children are our future…let’s start treating them like the precious and unique gems they are!

    Our Mission

    The MISSION of the Diamond Pediatric Cancer Society is to help create awareness of pediatric cancer and the urgent need for increased funding for research. Our VISION is a future where no child's life is ever cut short by cancer.


    An "Extraordinary" Teenager

    The Diagnosis

    On August 25, 2014, just 5 days before his 14th birthday, our son Riley was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was soon identified as Stage IV Glioblastoma – an aggressive cancer that is rarely seen in children. Due to the size of the tumor, the doctor gave Riley 3-5 months to live.


    In searching for all available treatment options, we found that there was only one course of treatment, and that there had been no research done for many years, due to a lack of funding.

    Gotta love a good prank!

    Look doc -- my head is shrinking!

    Riley was well known among the nurses for his many “pranks” and love of a good joke.


    Radiation, Chemo & Steroids

    A new look...

    Side effects of his radiation and chemo treatments slowly robbed Riley of almost all the rest of his sight, and blood clots took care of any remaining strength he had in his left side. The steroids he took as part of his treatment drastically changed his appearance to the point where the mischievous, fun-loving young man was sometimes hard to see, but he retained his sense of humor and refused to give up .

    SPUD...the Diamond

    Prior to being diagnosed, Riley was slow to hit his growth spurt, and hated being called short, shorty or runt. His mother came up with her own nickname for him – calling him SPUD (Short Person Under Development). Riley still didn’t like the “short” part of that nickname, so she changed it to “Super Person Under Development.”


    Over the last 15 months of Riley’s life, he endured some extremely hard challenges and faced tremendous pressures. As he and his family endured these trials, they all began to see that Riley was not a “Short Person Under Development” or even a “Super Person Under Development.” Instead, he was something much more – something beautiful, formed under extreme pressure for an extended period of time. Riley will always be known by his parents and family as “SPUD,” but that nickname has been updated to "Supremely Precious and Unique Diamond.”

    The End of the Journey

    Although Riley’s cancer went into remission, removal of the baseball-sized tumor and subsequent treatments had caused so much trauma to his brain that it just couldn’t keep up. In October 2015, Riley slowly slipped off into a deep slumber, and passed away peacefully on November 18, 2015 – almost 15 months after he was diagnosed.


  • Meet some of our gems!

    Watch this area for stories of some of the children and families we're following!

    Emily Grace Robinson

    This beautiful vivacious 5 year old was diagnosed with stage IV high-risk Neuroblastoma in July 2014. Her cancer is extremely rare: 1.4 million adults vs. 13,000 children. Of those ~700 have neuroblastoma, with less than 300 of those being high risk and even fewer having dangerous hypertension issues. Emily had all of the above.


    Emily received a laminectomy (removal of small muscular support bones around the spine) and partial resection of the tumor to relieve the pressure on her spinal cord. This eliminated the need for an emergent chemotherapy but the larger mass in her chest was still there and chemo was started as soon as it was safe to do so.



    On September 8, 2015, a routine PET scan revealed that despite a long, courageous fight, Emily's cancer had spread everywhere. Her prognosis was fatal as she had several tumors that would soon eat away at her bones, leave her blind, in great pain, and unable to move.

    Emily Grace, 6, passed away on Monday, October 3, 2016 with her loving family by her side. A brave and courageous little girl, Emily, was well known for her huge heart that was always concerned for others' well being. She was extremely kind, warm, gentle and empathetic. She loved to sing, dance, play and was full of joy. That is how she will be remembered - full of joy!

  • a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming.

    Here are some helpful resources for parents whose child has been diagnosed with cancer ...

  • Get Involved

    How can you help?

    Vice President Joe Biden

    Cancer Moonshot Initiative

    Cancer MoonShot 2020 is a coalition announced in January 2016 in the United States with the goal of finding vaccine-based immunotherapies against cancer. By pooling the resources of multinational pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies, academic centers and community oncologists, it intends to create access to over 60 novel and approved agents under exploration in the war against cancer and is expected to enable rapid testing of novel immunotherapy combination protocols. The initiative is being managed by a consortium of companies called The National Immunotherapy Coalition (NIC). The NIC plans to design, initiate and complete randomized clinical trials in cancer patients with cancer at all stages of disease in up to 20 tumor types in as many as 20,000 patients by the year 2020. The project's stated goal is to aggressively focus on rapidly developing new treatments for the disease. The organization attempts to rethink how cancer is tackled, using the body's own immune system and re-training it to detect and destroy the body's cancer cells.

    Make Your Voice Heard...

    Find your local State Senator and Representative to tell them to support funding for Pediatric Cancer Research.

  • our leadership

    Board of Directors:

    • Ron Rutledge (Founder & President)
    • Catherine Rutledge (Founder & President)
    • Ryan Rutledge (Founder, Special Projects)
    • Alana Moss (Director)
    • Robert Lind (Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department)
    • Eilene Vaughn-Pickerell (Barrett House PR)



    Specialists/Advisory Board:

    • John F. Kuttesch, Jr.,PhD.,MD. – Chief, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, UNM Children’s Hospital
    • James V. McKinnell, MD – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, UNM Children’s Hospital
    • Linda J. Butros, MD – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, UNM Children’s Hospital
    • Shirley Mary Abraham, MD – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, UNM Children’s Hospital
    • Missy Mason-Pecoraro, RN-Unit-Based Educator, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, UNM Children’s Hospital
    • Veronica Sandoval, RN– Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, UNM Children’s Hospital


  • reach out to us

    Time is wasting. We need to raise awareness and funding NOW to help the 10,000+ kids in America that will be diagnosed THIS YEAR with some form of pediatric cancer.