Families

Happy Birthday, Alyssa’s Leg!

by Michella Zoll
December 16, 2016

Ambassador Alyssa celebrates two birthdays every year — one for herself, and one for her leg. Today, the anniversary of Alyssa’s first big surgery for childhood cancer, her mom remembers that day and shares how far Alyssa has come.

ambassador alyssa and her family

A joyful Alyssa is cradled by (left to right) her mom Michella, sister Kalie, dad Harold, and brother Jacob.

Someone recently asked me why December 16 is hugely significant to us as a family.

It’s the day my 11-year-old daughter Alyssa had a major surgery that changed her life forever.

It’s the day my sweet girl got a new leg.

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Head-Shaving

Meet Your 2016 Battle of the Bald Champion

by Lauren Feller
December 15, 2016

37 events, thousands of participants, and over $235,000 raised for childhood cancer research — it’s safe to say the ultimate college head-shaving showdown had a successful second season. But who came out on top in this year’s Battle of the Bald? The results are in — read more to find out!

2016 Battle of the Bald event at UCSC

All images courtesy of Laurie Aiello

With her son Grant in her lap, her father getting shaved in the seat next to her, and her daughter helping guide the razor, Katrina Learned’s head-shave became more than a fundraiser — it was a moving family moment.

Katrina was the top fundraiser at the event, raising just over $14,000 for childhood cancer research and helping propel the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute event to the top of the charts for the second annual Battle of the Bald.

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Research

Destroying the Defenses: Researchers Fight Brain Tumors With Immunotherapy

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 15, 2016

St. Baldrick’s Scholars Dr. Alex Huang and Dr. Agne Petrosiute are studying how switching off a protein could lead to new treatments and cures for kids with brain tumors. Read on for more about their unexpected discovery, its implications for immunotherapy, and why Dr. Huang compares himself to those fuzzy little bears in Star Wars.

Dr. Alex Huang and Dr. Agne Petrosiute

Dr. Agne Petrosiute (left) and Dr. Alex Huang study how the immune system can be harnessed to fight pediatric brain cancer.

Dr. Alex Huang likens himself and his colleague, Dr. Agne Petrosiute, to Ewoks battling the Death Star.

“We are the Ewoks that found the controller on this planet, and all of a sudden the Death Star cannot put up the shield anymore,” he said. “And so now, Luke Skywalker can go in there and blow it up.”

It may seem like a curious explanation, but it fits.

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Kids with Cancer

A Childhood Saved by Research: Will’s Story [VIDEO]

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 13, 2016

When Honored Kid Will was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer. Now, the third grader with the dimpled smile and bright eyes is healthy, thanks to a clinical trial made possible by St. Baldrick’s funding. Read on for Will’s story of survival.

Will

NEW VIDEO: Will’s Story >

On the surface, Will looks like any other 8-year-old boy. He loves playing soccer, camping with his family, and playing with their dog, Jack. The third grader is a big fan of superheroes and is also quite the successful fisherman.

You’d never guess that most of his young life has been spent fighting cancer.

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Families

Honoring Sophie’s Spunky Spirit: A Memorial Fund for a Brighter Future

by Kallie Rossi
December 9, 2016

Honored Kid Sophie was just 3 months old when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. When Sophie passed away 15 months later, her parents worried that she might be forgotten. They decided to honor Sophie’s memory by starting a memorial fund in her name, forever tying her to a cause they care deeply about: funding childhood cancer research.

Sophie in the fall

“The next place that I go
will be as peaceful and familiar
as a sleepy summer Sunday
and a sweet, untroubled mind.
And yet….it won’t be anything like any place I’ve ever been…
or seen…or dreamed of
in the place I leave behind.”
– “The Next Place” by Warren Hanson

Our first child, Sophie, was born in October 2013, and we were smitten with her the instant that she arrived.

A few months later, we noticed some odd bruise-like spots on Sophie’s torso and back. She had a runny nose for a couple of weeks but we didn’t think much of it, as everyone around us seemed to have a cold. Still, her “spots” concerned us so we brought her to the pediatrician.

The doctor shared our concerns and immediately sent us for blood work.

That night marked the first of many long stays at the hospital. A bone marrow biopsy revealed that our precious 3-month-old had acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Frightened and confused, we immediately began treatment.

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Families

Remembering Althea

by Tina Sandi
December 1, 2016

Tina and Carlos’ childhood cancer journey didn’t begin with their son Phineas’ diagnosis in 2013. It began seven years earlier with their second child, Althea. On the 10th anniversary of Althea’s death, Tina shares how she continues to honor her daughter’s memory.

Althea and her mom

Althea and her mom.

December 1. I can feel it in my bones days before it arrives. Late fall, Thanksgiving leftovers gone, dead leaves, frost, Christmas coming, my daughter dying in my arms.

A fact of my life for 10 years now — my daughter Althea died of cancer when she was 2 years old.

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Families

Doing It Her Way: Annie’s Story

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 28, 2016

Honored Kid Annie is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, when the little girl was first diagnosed with leukemia, she told her mom, “I’m going to kick its butt.” And that’s just what this spirited fighter is doing, with her loving family backing her up. Read on for more about this amazing kid and her fight against cancer.

Annie makes a funny face

Annie doesn’t let anything stop her from being a kid — not even cancer.

The firecracker of a 5-year-old loves to dance, especially to the rock band AC/DC. Her signature move is like “the worm” but with less moving and the addition of a foot wiggle.

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Kids with Cancer

What Are Kids With Cancer Thankful For? [VIDEO]

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 24, 2016

In the spirit of the holidays, we asked some of our Honored Kids what they’re thankful for this year.

Here’s what they had to say. (We hope it makes you smile!)

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News

Gifts That Give Back to Childhood Cancer Research: Your 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

by Lauren Feller
November 21, 2016

The holidays are all about giving. So this year, why not give gifts that give back? Check out these present-worthy goodies that just so happen to help fund childhood cancer research.


The St. Baldrick’s Shop

St. Baldrick's Shop header

If you’re in search of some St. Baldrick’s swag this holiday season, the St. Baldrick’s Shop has you covered — literally. We’ve got shirts, sweatshirts, hats, puffy vests, and even some sweet tote bags — all to help you raise awareness for childhood cancer while we put those funds toward research.

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Facts

What Is Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis?

by Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D.
November 17, 2016

Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo is a St. Baldrick’s researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a member of the St. Baldrick’s Scientific Advisory Committee. He explains what Langerhans cell hystiocytosis is, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and how research is helping kids and adults with this disease.

what is LCH

What is Langerhans cell hystiocytosis?

Langerhans cell hystiocytosis, often called LCH, is a disorder where the body produces too many Langerhans cells.

A Langerhans cell is a type of white blood cell that normally helps the body fight off infection. In LCH, the body produces too many of these cells. The cells build up in the body, sometimes damaging organs or forming tumors.

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