Teens & Young Adults

Fear: The Realities of Life During Cancer Treatment

by Jake Teitelbaum
July 9, 2019

Editor’s Note: We’ve let Jake, the founder of Resilience Gives, tell us his experience of dealing with uncertainty during treatment.

Jake during treatment

After a few hours of watching carboplatin steadily drip into my bloodstream, I was relieved when my friend Alex poked her head around the corner of the oversized hospital room door. It was day three of my first inpatient stay since beginning my medical leave of absence, and Alex was the first non-family visitor. When she placed her hand beneath the Purell dispenser, I could see a game tucked underneath her arm.

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Do What You Want

Summer Fundraiser Ideas: 9 Ways To Make A Difference For Kids With Cancer

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 3, 2019

School is out, pools are open, and grills are fired up. Whether you want to make the most of the warm weather or you’re just looking for a way to get the kids involved, make this summer count by raising money to fund research that helps kids with cancer. Here are nine ideas to get you started.

1. Sports Challenge: Take advantage of the summer weather and organize an outdoor tournament with a suggested donation for entering. Take it to the sand for a game of beach volleyball or the park for some of our Summertime favorites like soccer, football, even frisbee golf.

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Childhood Cancer

Brooke Survives Cancer, Graduates Stanford – But Not Without A Lifetime’s Worth of Challenges

by Brooke Vittimberga
June 17, 2019

Editor’s Note: Brooke is an Ambassador and Honored Kid who just graduated from Stanford University. As Cancer Survivors Month continues on the St. Baldrick’s Blog, we’re letting her tell the story of how she got to this day in her own words.

On Thursday, September 24, 2015, my friends were finishing up their first week of junior year at Stanford. I was lying in a hospital bed, watching as my brother’s stem cells were infused into my body, replacing the bone marrow that had turned against me.

On Friday, September 25, my friends celebrated their first weekend back together at school. I had a grand mal seizure.

When I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the end of my sophomore year of college, I knew that I was going to have a very different college experience from my peers. I had no idea how different it would be.

I had the impression that I would either die or I would live and return to my previous life. I had a high-risk form of leukemia that did not respond to my first round of chemotherapy, and at first it seemed that the death option was more likely.

But when I got into remission on a salvage round of chemotherapy and proceeded to my bone marrow transplant, I was hopeful that a return to “normal life” was possible.

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Advocacy

Happy Anniversary, Childhood Cancer STAR Act! Signed into Law One Year Ago Today

by Danielle Leach
June 5, 2019

The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act – the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill in history – was signed into law one year ago today!

2013 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Matthias advocating on Capitol Hill

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Real-Life Stories

Survivorship: A Lifelong Journey

by Becky Chapman Weaver, Chief Mission Officer
May 31, 2019

Sunday, June 2 is National Cancer Survivors Day, and we at St. Baldrick’s have dubbed the entire month of June “Cancer Survivors Month.” Our focus for the month ahead will be to bring awareness to the fact that surviving childhood cancers is just the first step in a lifelong journey for many survivors.

A series of four copy-based statistic windows show the following important stats: first, that by the time they're 50, 99% of childhood cancer survivors will have had a chronic health problem other than cancer. Second, that in the U.S. there are 420,000 survivors of childhood cancer. Third, that by age 50, childhood cancer survivors will have faced an average of 17 adverse health effects from their cancer diagnosis. Finally, donors have helped fund more than 140 grants totaling over $19 million to improve survivorship outcomes.

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Real-Life Stories

Staying Positive, and Thriving, as a Young Survivor of Pediatric Cancer

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 31, 2019

What jumps out after talking with Shane Callaghan? His positivity. In a recent interview with Shane and his dad, Casey, Shane took center stage with his upbeat, can-do attitude – in spite of a lifetime worth of medical setbacks for a kid who is only 14. Shane has faced multiple treatments for osteosarcoma, which was first diagnosed in October 2015.

The following July, Shane was declared cancer-free. But the cancer in his left leg returned in March 2018. Following his relapse, chemotherapy led to an infection that severely damaged his kidneys. While his kidneys are better, they only function at 50% and are unable to handle heavy doses of chemo. On April 1, 2019, Shane’s left leg was amputated to remove the cancer and ultimately save his life.

Shane appears in a hospital bed following the amputation of his leg in April 2019.

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A Dad Shares His Son’s Cancer Story Part 2: Survivorship

by Dan Butler
May 31, 2019

Editor’s Note: In part one, we heard from Dan Butler, whose son, Sullivan, had a whirlwind that started with back pain and ended up with a cancer diagnosis. Now, here’s part two, where Dan shares the story of how they continue to move forward.

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Real-Life Stories

A Dad Shares His Son’s Cancer Story Part 1: Discovery and Treatment

by Dan Butler
May 31, 2019

Editor’s Note: Today on the St. Baldrick’s blog, we’ve decided to hand the microphone over to Dan Butler, whose son, Sullivan, was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, at the age of 10. June is Cancer Survivors Month at St. Baldrick’s, and the first Father’s Day after Sullivan’s diagnosis and treatment was especially meaningful for Dan.

Dan reading to his son Sullivan in the hospital.

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Real-Life Stories

Brooke’s Survivorship Journey

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 31, 2019

Editor’s Note: Throughout the month of June, Cancer Survivors Month, we are hearing from and about those who have been diagnosed with pediatric cancers, and learning about the long-term impact and late effects of cancer treatments. The month of June also marks four years since the focus of this blog post, Brooke, was first diagnosed.

Brooke poses for a photo in a park on a sunny day.

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Real-Life Stories

What Happens When A Pediatric Cancer Survivor Grows Up to Be a Pediatric Oncologist?

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 31, 2019

When you’re a kid with cancer, you’re not thinking about long-term impacts of treatment: you just want to get better. Parents, too, are rightly focused on a desire to put cancer behind the family and get on with life.

While some childhood cancers still have no cure, overall survival rates have climbed into a figure that’s around 80%, so more attention is being paid to those long-term impacts. What if the treatment you get today can lead to all sorts of unwanted side effects later? And, if you survive as a child, as you move into adolescence and then adulthood, what can be done to ensure you have the best possible quality of life?

Dr. John Gates, a survivor now in his 40s, has worked tirelessly to help treat kids with cancer, and to ensure that those who do survive know how to face future challenges head on.

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