Childhood Cancer

Kids Are Not Little Adults: Researcher Studies Differences in AML Across Age Groups

by Erinn Unger, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 26, 2016

Kids are special, and that’s why they need treatments made just for them. St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Heather Schuback agrees. She’s looking at the very building blocks of acute myeloid leukemia cells to spot differences that could help kids get the targeted therapy they need.

Dr. Heather Schuback at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Heather Schuback works in the lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

Kids are not just little adults, says St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Heather Schuback.

That means their cancers aren’t just smaller, younger versions of adult cancers. They are fundamentally different.

Dr. Schuback should know. Her St. Baldrick’s-funded research is looking at how changes in the DNA of tumor cells can predict who will do well during treatment and who won’t. This information could help doctors tailor therapies from the start, getting kids just the right amount of treatment to kill the cancer, while limiting late-effects.

But these differences aren’t limited to which kids will respond well to treatment and which won’t. It’s bigger than that.

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A Symbol of Love: Mateo Goes Bald for His Brother Mason

by Mateo Leach
May 25, 2016

Mateo and Mason spent their early years of brotherhood playing together and acting goofy. When Mason was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the two brothers stayed strong, bonded by their love for soccer and for each other. This weekend, Mateo, now 16, will be shaving his head in honor of his little brother. Mateo tells his story below.

Mateo and Mason

Mason (right) hugging his big brother Mateo.

I was 6 years old that day in July 2006 when my parents told me we had to go home to the United States because my brother was sick and needed surgery.

We were medically evacuated from Ecuador because my almost-4-year-old brother, Mason, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It changed all our lives in an instant.

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‘I Am’: A Poem by My 8-Year-Old Childhood Cancer Survivor

by Amy Brennfoerder
May 23, 2016

Honored Kid Kaiden is a happy second grader who loves camping and biking. He’s also a brain tumor survivor. His mom, Amy, thought Kaiden had left childhood cancer in his past — until one day, Kaiden brought home a school assignment that showed her just how much cancer still affects him.

Kaiden and Amy making silly faces

Kaiden and Amy acting goofy. Kaiden, now 8, is six years past his childhood cancer diagnosis.

The other day, my 8-year-old son, Kaiden, brought home a poem he wrote in school. It was a fill-in-the-blank poem with prompts like “I am…,” “I feel…,” and “I wonder….”

His answers were like most in his second grade class: “I am happy,” “I feel good,” “I wonder when my dad will download more apps on my computer again.” Then, halfway down the list, one of his answers stopped me dead in my tracks.

“I worry because I think I might have cancer.”

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14 Years of Excellence: LAFD and LAPD Go Bald For Kids With Cancer [PHOTO ESSAY]

by Jeena Gould, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 20, 2016

In March, one of our longest running head-shaving events — a collaboration between the Los Angeles Fire and Police Departments — returned for the 14th year in a row. Read on to learn about the VEOs behind the event and to see some fun photos along the way.

Young boy getting his head shaved

It all started back in 2003.

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‘Imagine What It’s Like’: Carlos Takes His Story to Capitol Hill

by Carlos Sandi
May 17, 2016

Yesterday, Ambassador Phineas’ dad, Carlos, joined more than 200 childhood cancer advocates on Capitol Hill to drum up support in Washington for kids with cancer. He opened up about what it’s like to have two children diagnosed with cancer, how research saved his son’s life, and why he won’t stop telling his family’s story. Read his powerful speech below.

Carlos and Phineas Sandi

Carlos with his son, Phineas. Phineas was diagnosed with cancer when he was 4, six years after his sister Althea died of childhood cancer.

I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but like most of my neighbors, I’m not actually from North Carolina. Chapel Hill is a college town where new people come and go every year.

Whenever my wife and I meet people for the first time, one of the first questions we get asked is, “So, how did you end up in Chapel Hill?”

When I hear that question, I always freeze for a second because I have to decide carefully how I want to answer.

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Tell Congress ‘Step Up: Support the Childhood Cancer STAR Act’

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 16, 2016

A coordinated community effort is underway to storm Congress — on foot and online. Childhood cancer organizations throughout the country are joining together to send Congress a message:

Step Up: Support the Childhood Cancer STAR Act
There are many ways for you to help:

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Changing the Game: A New Type of Funding for Kids’ Cancer Research

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Philanthropy Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 13, 2016

Today we’re announcing a new childhood cancer research grant unlike any other. Rather than funding a specific research project, this award is giving one talented researcher the freedom to pursue whatever discoveries he finds over the next three years. Read on for more about why this award is so revolutionary, the brilliant man who inspired it, and the lucky winner who’s changing lives of kids with cancer.

Dr. Arceci

The Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award was inspired by Dr. Arceci, a beloved childhood cancer researcher, innovator, and champion of researchers everywhere.

There’s a big problem with childhood cancer research today. And it goes beyond the funding shortage.

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Elise Steps Into a Bright Future After Rotationplasty Surgery

by Erinn Unger, St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 10, 2016

When it came time to talk about surgery for bone cancer, 9-year-old Honored Kid Elise took charge. Read on to learn about Elise’s cancer journey, the decision she made, and how she’s moving forward with her life.

Elise smiles at the camera

Wise beyond her years, 9-year-old Elise has been a full participant in her treatment decisions.

Nine-year-old Elise has some advice for any kid facing a big, tough decision.

“It’s your decision,” she said. “It’s your life.”

Elise knows all about making life-changing decisions. When it came time to choose the best surgery to rid her right leg of bone cancer, it was Elise who spoke up first.

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For All the Moms Missing Their Babies on Mother’s Day

by Robyn Raphael
May 8, 2016

For Robyn, Mother’s Day has never been the same since she lost her son Keaton to neuroblastoma 18 years ago. Read on for a special message she has for the other moms who share her pain on Mother’s Day.

Keaton and Robyn by flowers

Robyn embraces Keaton in the backyard.

It was an early November morning after 22 hours of labor when I looked into the most beautiful brown eyes I had ever seen.

At that moment, I knew my life had changed forever. We named him Keaton and he was going to make his mark in this world.

As Keaton took his first breath, I never in my wildest nightmares imagined I would witness his last.

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Dear Mom, Thank You for Always Being There for Me

by Sarah Swaim
May 7, 2016

2012 Ambassador Sarah’s childhood cancer journey was nothing less than difficult. But through it all, she had the constant support from her mom. Read Sarah’s sweet letter to her mom for Mother’s Day.

Sarah and her mom at a St. Baldrick's event

Sarah was diagnosed with biphenotypic leukemia in August 2003.

Dear Mom,

Where do I even begin to thank you for all you have given and done for me? To be honest, it’s a little daunting.

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