Why the Right Diagnosis Matters: Meet a Doctor Working to Get it Right and Hear How Avery Inspires Him
Brain tumors in children can sound especially daunting – but some brain tumors can be malignant and not especially life-threatening. Therefore, getting an accurate diagnosis is key, and Dr. James Olson of Seattle Children’s Hospital is working on more accurately diagnosing and treating brain cancers in children.
It might seem that Department of Defense technology that’s used to detect explosives might not have any use in diagnosing childhood cancers. But, if you ask St. Baldrick’s Foundation “Rockstar Researcher” Dr. Bruce Shiramizu, this technology has real potential to help patients, parents, caregivers, and the cancer community.
It’s why this Hawaii-based doctor, who has worked on the mainland at the University of California San Francisco and at the National Institutes of Health, is so passionate about his research work and what it might be able to do for children throughout the world. This veteran researcher has shaved his head multiple times for St. Baldrick’s – that’s one definition of a “Rockstar Researcher” – and his body of work speaks volumes.
Today, Feb. 15, 2019, marks this year’s International Childhood Cancer Day.
While the St. Baldrick’s Foundation might be thought of as just an American organization, the fact is that the research we fund has global reach – so we thought that we’d share a few snapshots of just how global our organization really is, and how our funding and your support are making a true impact for kids with cancer throughout the world.
It’s Valentine’s Day and that means exchanging cards, chocolates, teddy bears, and flowers with loved ones. The prevailing symbol of Valentine’s Day is the heart – which makes sense, given that the day is all about showing love and affection.
Because the heart is so central to Valentine’s Day, it’s a useful time to reflect on how childhood cancers impact this vital organ. Unfortunately, childhood cancers affect far more than the parts of the body in which they emerge – brain cancer doesn’t just harm the brain; leukemia doesn’t just affect the blood; and bone cancers often spread to the major organs.
February 4th is World Cancer Day. Established in 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer in Paris, World Cancer Day promotes awareness, research, and services dedicated to helping people conquer cancer.
It’s an appropriate time, then, to reflect on the efforts of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fight childhood cancers around the world.
Founded in New York City and currently headquartered in Los Angeles, St. Baldrick’s has deep roots in the United States. But the organization has been very active beyond America’s borders, funding a variety of promising research projects that can help fight childhood cancers in the near and distant future.
For the 11th consecutive year, Dr. Alex Huang will be shaving his head for kids’ cancer research. A pediatric oncologist and professor at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Angie Fowler AYA Cancer Institute at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, he’s no stranger to the fight against childhood cancers.
In fact, as an accomplished cancer fighter who’s dedicated time – and hair! – to helping raise money for childhood cancer research, he’s the very definition of a “Rockstar Shavee”.
Dr. Alex Huang, winner of a St. Baldrick’s Innovation Award, will shave his head for an 11th time this year.
The League of Legendary Heroes is an order of dedicated volunteers who’ve participated in St. Baldrick’s Foundation events for three or more years. Each year, St. Baldrick’s names a League Champion to lead and inspire this group to raise money for lifesaving childhood cancer research.
Georgia Moore, our newest League Champion of the League of Legendary Heroes, just celebrated her 19th birthday on Dec. 30. The following day, New Year’s Eve, marked nine years since Georgia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Our 2019 League Champion, Georgia Moore (third from left), appears with her family at Tufts University.
What is the St. Baldrick’s Foundation?
Nope, it’s not a foundation started by a saint with the unfortunate nickname “Bald Rick.”
St. Baldrick’s is a charity with a funny name that does one thing and does it well.
We fund grants for childhood cancer research through head-shaving events and other fundraisers across the globe, so kids with cancer can live long, healthy lives.
Each year, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation picks five kids to serve as Ambassadors. In this role, they represent the thousands of kids affected by childhood cancers and remind us of the importance of supporting childhood cancer research.
Take any group of kids and they’ll all have their own way of talking, their own opinions on books, movies, and video games, their own favorite foods.
But there is one thing the St. Baldrick’s 2019 Ambassadors have in common: childhood cancers. Beyond that, they share the support of loving families and a desire to inspire others to raise money for childhood cancer research.
Our 2019 Ambassadors, from left to right: Aiden, Arianna, Sullivan, Gabby, and Brooke.
A new drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is great news for childhood cancer patients.
The drug – known as larotrectnib, or Vitrakvi – is the first developed to target a key genetic driver of cancer, rather than a specific type of tumor. In this case, the drug targets a gene fusion called NTRK, found in some patients with many different types of cancer.
Dr. Federman, a St. Baldrick’s Scholar from 2009 to 2014, was directly involved in Vitrakvi’s development.
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