Welcome to The Butterfly Fund

Emily And Maddie

The families of Emily Barger and Maddie Harrill established the Butterfly Fund at the East Tennessee Foundation in memory of their daughters. Both of these beautiful little girls were diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, in 2007. Sadly, both of these girls passed away just weeks apart during the summer of 2008.

The Butterfly Fund supports research, treatment and services dedicated to the defeat of childhood cancers. To date we have raised over $1 million dollars and have gifted half a million dollars to organizations right here in our East Tennessee region.


Here are the facts about childhood cancer and why the Butterfly Fund continues its work.

Each year 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer.
Every day, 36 children are diagnosed with cancer.
One child out of five, who is diagnosed with cancer, dies.
Children’s cancer affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.
The average age a child is diagnosed is six.
More than 40, 000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
3 out of 5 who survive children’s cancer suffer late-effects such as infertility, heart failure and secondary cancers.
Each year, cancer kills more children in the United States than any other disease.

2019 Butterfly Fund Grant Recipients

We are very thankful for all of the support we have received from the community and local business members. Your support allows us to be able to raise funds to support organizations and programs that strive to treat and cure many forms of childhood cancer. Over the past year we have been able to make the following grants:

  • Austin Hatcher Foundation has been awarded a grant of $10,000 to continue neurocognitive testing at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. This testing is used to identify the neurocognitive effects cancer treatments have on children and assist them with reacclimating to a classroom environment. – www.hatcherfoundation.org
  • East Tennessee Children’s Hospital has been awarded $25,000 in support of the Pain and Palliative Care Program. This program assists children who are facing complex, lengthy or life-threatening illnesses or recovering from complicated surgeries. An individualized treatment plan is designed for each child and includes such treatments as massage therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and acupuncture. – www.etch.com
  • East Tennessee State University has been awarded $13,000 to study a biosensing system for measuring protein biomarkers for pediatric soft tissue sarcomas. The hope of this study is to lead to quicker diagnosis and improved treatment and patient outcomes. – www.etsu.edu
  • Lincoln Memorial University has been awarded $16,000 to continue their role in the study of centriolin in rhabdomyosarcoma. The aim of this study is to determine if centriolin is a viable target for future therapies. – www.lmunet.edu
  • Provision Cares Foundation has been awarded $5,000 in support of their Caring Plate Program. This program provides nutritious meals and financial assistance to families being affected by cancer. – www.provisioncares.org
  • The University of Tennessee Foundation has been awarded $16,000 to study the potential of a novel hydrogel used in local chemotherapy delivery. The project objective is to show that chemotherapy drugs used for treatment of childhood cancers can be incorporated into and released from the hydrogel designed for local drug delivery. – www.utfi.org

Again, we thank you for your continued support. We could not do it without you!

To donate by check, mail to:
The Butterfly Fund of East Tennessee Foundation
P.O. Box 31434
Knoxville, TN 37930

Make the check payable to:
East Tennessee Foundation
and write "The Butterfly Fund" in the memo.

Connect With Us