Sam playing the cello.
Twenty-year-old Sam is a Renaissance man – an accomplished musician, pilot, and philanthropist. He’s also a three-time shavee, childhood cancer survivor, and 2024 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador who is committed to making a difference in the lives of other kids with cancer.
Ambassador Scott and the many pill bottles he went through during treatment.
Scott is a cheerful, hardworking 15-year-old who enjoys football, hanging out with friends, and traveling. His acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) diagnosis at age 3 was a complete shock to his family, especially since he seemed healthy and never even had a sick visit to the pediatrician.
Since he was diagnosed as a toddler, he couldn’t fully understand that by the time he finished treatment 3 ½ years later, he would take more than 1,500 pills, have blood transfusions and countless spinal taps, unpleasant nebulized antibiotic treatments for immunosuppression, and spend more than half of his life on chemo.
Aaron and his guitar.
Resilient, positive, and determined are a few words that describe 16-year-old Aaron. These traits served him well through his battle with cancer and continue to guide his life today.
When he was 4, Aaron stopped walking. An MRI revealed the cause – a tumor on his spine. His mom, Beth, recalls, “They didn’t wake him up between the MRI and surgery. I remember whispering in his ear that if he made it though, he would get a puppy.” Surgery successfully removed 90% of the tumor. A few days later, his family received the official diagnosis – Ewing sarcoma, a rare bone and soft tissue cancer.
St. Baldrick’s Ambassadors represent the more than 400,000 kids worldwide who are diagnosed with cancer each year. Ambassadors come from diverse geographic areas, ages, diseases, and treatment statuses. Their stories highlight the importance of supporting the best childhood cancer research so all kids diagnosed can live long, healthy, productive, and happy lives.
Every child is so much more than a cancer diagnosis. Each has their own unique personality, gifts, and talents. Read on to learn more about these remarkable kids.
Editor’s Note: As we commemorate National Cancer Survivor Month, we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Knott, whose daughter, Arianna, was one of the five St. Baldrick’s “Ambassadors” for 2019. As you’ll read in her story, survivorship issues in pediatric cancer need attention – and funding – for those like Arianna, whose challenges are many.
Arianna during treatment.
June is National Cancer Survivor Month, a time to celebrate childhood cancer survivors and recognize that when a child is declared cancer-free, their cancer story isn’t over. Surviving childhood cancer is just the first step in a lifelong journey.
Life can be unfair. Curveballs, challenges, and heartaches do not discriminate. Even for the nicest people you know.
But there’s a popular quote that promises, “rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.”
Meet Hanna. She has embodied this quote for 29 years, rising above the unfair hand she was dealt to feel the sunshine on her face.
Meet Hanna (no extra “h” at the end please).
The following speech was a highlight of the March 2022 St. Baldrick’s event at St. Agnes Parish Center in Rockville Centre, NY. With thanks to Greta, we’re sharing it so others can hear her experience and how she feels about St. Baldrick’s, as a childhood cancer survivor.
“Hi! My name is Greta Ohanian and I am currently 6 years out of treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Sometimes I struggle with what to say at events like this because there are so many aspects of cancer that I could touch on as a survivor. But one of the worst parts is how frightening it is to go into a cancer diagnosis knowing how limited the treatment is.
Greta during treatment.
As we close a difficult year, we reflect on lessons shared by childhood cancer patients and survivors who have faced adversity with grace, courage, and resilience. From their words, come some messages worth remembering now.St. Baldrick’s Honored Kid, Sarah Swaim, and two-time leukemia survivor shares how having support during her cancer diagnosis helped her to keep going.
Want to know what it’s like to be a teenage survivor of childhood cancer? We asked 16-year-old Michael G. to share his experience, during National Cancer Survivor Month.
Older Posts »