Ambassadors


Every year, the Foundation selects five Ambassadors to represent the thousands of kids touched by childhood cancer from many different geographic areas, age groups, disease types and more. These brave kids serve as a reminder that childhood cancer doesn't discriminate and that one in five kids diagnosed in the U.S. will not survive.

Brooke V. Age 24

Location

California

Diagnosis

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Status

In remission

Brooke’s a sushi devotee, published writer, pre-med student at Stanford and unapologetic fan of reality TV.

Brooke’s also fought cancer – but she’s never let it define her.

Diagnosed with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when she was a sophomore in college, Brooke achieved remission soon after beginning treatment. Thanks to a bone marrow transplant from her brother in 2015, Brooke officially became a survivor.

But that’s where her cancer journey took a troubling turn.

Since her transplant, Brooke has suffered acute and chronic graft vs. host disease (GVHD) in her gut, skin, eyes, liver and mouth. While she still deals with the impact of GVHD, Brooke is also immune compromised, infertile and has permanent alopecia – all late effects from the cancer treatment.

Brooke says, “I have found joy despite cancer but not because of cancer.”

With courage and persistence, this young woman refuses to give up on her dreams. She’s been accepted to medical school at Mount Sinai in New York.

She’s also passionate about survivorship and improving quality of life for cancer survivors. Brooke established a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund and her goal is to raise funds for research focused on young adult survivorship and chronic GVHD.

While Brooke acknowledges that cancer changed her, she’s definitely not the “girl with cancer.” The experience has given her a fearlessness about life and a fierce independence to do her own thing – both of which will serve her well as she pursues her passions and her dreams.

Brooke’s story continues on our blog.  Learn More

Sullivan B. Age 13

Location

Texas

Diagnosis

Medulloblastoma (Brain cancer, metastasized to spine)

Status

No evidence of disease (NED)

If you could look up the word "determined" in the dictionary, you'd find a picture of Sullivan right next to it.

Sully is a 12-year-old who loves to bike, run and wrestle with his brothers, Cashel and Finn. Typical stuff, except just two years ago, he woke up from surgery unable to walk.

It all started with back pain. It ended with emergency brain surgery and a devastating diagnosis of medulloblastoma so aggressive it spread to Sullivan’s spine.

In addition to enduring an intense treatment protocol, Sully had to deal with posterior fossa syndrome as a result of his surgery. This caused problems with speech, emotional disturbances and worst of all, the inability to stand up or walk.

But Sully did what he does best – he put his nose to the grindstone. Working with a physical therapist, he dedicated himself to his stretches and exercises.

Then one day in December 2016, he stood up on his own. That started Sully on the path of all things being possible...one step at a time.

Now, he and his family are learning to define a new “normal” for their lives. It hasn’t slowed Sully down. He still loves Legos, especially architecture sets, playing the piano, swimming, and competing in triathlons. He’s a huge nature fan, enjoying outdoor activities like camping and skiing. He loves superheroes, especially Batman (although his dad is his real hero). When he grows up, Sully wants to be a civil engineer and design roller coasters.

"I firmly believe he would not be where he is today if he wasn't the kid that he is,"" says his father, Dan.

So far, Sully has won some major battles in the fight against cancer. But because of the harsh treatments, he’ll face health challenges for the rest of his life. With his fierce determination and optimistic view, Sully will face them head on – one step at a time.

Sullivan’s story continues on our blog.  Learn More

Arianna L. Age 5

Location

New Jersey

Diagnosis

Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML)

Status

In treatment

You couldn't miss her. Everyone from the doctors and nurses to the cafeteria staff at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) knew the sassy toddler. Arianna was a familiar sight riding a pink toy car through the hallways, always with an infectiously wide smile on her little face.

Arianna was a healthy baby until she began having chronic respiratory problems, which doctors initially dismissed as not serious. It wasn’t until her bright, happy and outgoing demeanor was replaced by crying, lethargy and a loss of appetite that her parents pressed for more tests.

Diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) when she was just over a year old, Arianna received a bone marrow transplant and then spent 409 days at CHOP.

While the bone marrow transplant was successful, and Arianna is now cancer-free, she remains in treatment for graft vs. host disease (GVHD) in her gut, skin, lungs and liver. She’s a candidate for an intestinal and liver transplant as well as colon removal. Arianna is also non-verbal, has gross and fine motor delays, and her immune system is compromised – all late effects of her treatment.

But with her parents Matt and Katrina, this four-year old makes the most of each day. Arianna loves the sausage and vanilla milkshakes at the CHOP cafeteria. Her two favorite holidays are Halloween and Christmas. She also loves watching movies (her favorites are Shrek 2 and Monsters, Inc.), playing games (like Hungry Hungry Hippos), and going to the library or playground.

Her mom says, “I always look for fun activities on the weekends, so Arianna can experience as many wonderful things as possible.”

Bravely and hopefully, the little girl with the wide smile and the sassy spunk is making a comeback – one day at a time.

Arianna’s story continues on our blog.  Learn More

Gabby G. Age 15

Location

California

Diagnosis

Osteosarcoma

Status

Cancer free

Being in a wheelchair and without hair, even the large scar on her leg...Gabby took it all in stride. They served as badges of courage for the confident, self-assured teen in her 9-month battle with osteosarcoma.

Diagnosed when she was in the eighth grade, Gabby missed school, longed to be with her siblings and friends and spent almost every holiday in the hospital receiving treatment. On Dec. 16, 2017, she underwent limb salvage surgery on her left leg to remove a tumor, her knee and six inches of her femur.

Today, Gabby is cancer-free but the fight continues. She’s working hard to learn to walk again following her surgery. She’s also dealing with hearing loss, one of the late effects of her treatment.

Gabby’s home-schooled right now but hopes to start her sophomore year at the same high school as her twin brother and older sister. Gabby loves swimming, camping, going to the beach, and visiting Disneyland. She hopes to one day, when she’s stronger, return to playing softball.

Asked what helps her get through therapy, Gabby points to the therapy dog visits. Perhaps it’s no surprise that she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

With wisdom beyond her years, Gabby says getting cancer gave her a new perspective on life. “I was given this test because I can take it on and overcome anything,” she says.

Watching Gabby push through her cancer journey, there’s no doubt she’ll persevere.

Gabby’s story continues on our blog.  Learn More

Aiden B. Forever 7

Location

Alabama

Diagnosis

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)

Status

Angel

He had the best smile. A sweet, toothy smile that lit up his face. Thankfully, there were so many things that made Aiden smile in the 7 years of his life.

Playing with Legos. Going to school and Cub Scouts. Eating pizza. The movie “Wall-E,” especially the music. Playing T-ball. His little brother and best buddy, Evan.

Even through his tough battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), Aiden never lost his smile or his positive spirit.

He was only five years old when an MRI led to the diagnosis after months of headaches and bouts of stumbling. Aiden endured 30 rounds of radiation, a clinical trial, high doses of steroids and more drugs to counteract side effects.

Even though he didn’t understand that it was cancer, Aiden knew his body was failing him.

His favorite holiday was Christmas and Aiden's last Christmas with his family is a memory his mom, Erica will always cherish: "We tapered down the steroids and Aiden was so much himself. It was amazing! He smiled and laughed and enjoyed it all. I’m so thankful for that day."

The one thing that was sure to put a smile on this little boy's face was Star Wars. He was a huge fan and wanted to be called "Jedi Aiden." Just like the intergalactic guardians in the movie, the "force was strong" with Aiden as he stood up against the cancer with courage, fortitude and the best smile ever.

Aiden’s story continues on our blog.  Learn More

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