On Mother’s Day, we celebrate all moms, each special in her own way. Mothers of kids who have fought childhood cancer have traveled a journey no one would have chosen. May is also Brain Tumor Awareness Month. We asked Gaylene Meeson to share her story of being mom to a very special brain tumor survivor, Hannah.Gaylene Meeson and her daughter Hannah, survivor of an aggressive brain tumor called anaplastic meduloblastoma.
Photo by [Kenneth Lim, kennethlimphotography.com].
What do you do when you’ve been told your child has maybe 3 to 6 months to live? As the saying goes, “You get busy living or you get busy dying.” That’s the situation Kim and Jeff Schuetz were put in when their son Austin relapsed not once, but twice after treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer.
Before the doctors even told us, I knew. Micah had cancer. Even without understanding the enormity of what lay ahead, I knew that it meant my life and worse, my child’s life, would never be the same. Now I’m sharing my son Micah’s story because I believe in the critical need to support childhood cancer research with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Please join me in giving hope to the next child faced with a cancer diagnosis.
Most parents simply hope their child grows up to be a good person.
I mostly hope mine just gets the chance to grow up.
You don’t have to have cancer to understand that the journey is an emotional roller-coaster. The fear of what awaits around the next corner can be all-consuming. But what most people who haven’t experienced cancer don’t understand, is that unlike a roller-coaster, the ride never ends.
Your Donations Help Find Cures and Improve Quality of Life for Survivors
St. Baldrick’s is dedicated to scouring the nation in a relentless pursuit to discover and unearth the most promising research. We fund the most innovative researchers so they may provide the most effective and ground-breaking treatments to every single childhood cancer. It’s this tenacity that ensures donors that they’re helping to propel advancements that will find cures for childhood cancers and develop less toxic treatments, giving survivors long and healthy lives. We find and fund the very best of the best. So put your money in the hands of the researchers who offer us all the very best chance to make a huge impact. Please donate today.
They say you can always tell what’s important to someone by how they spend their time. The best dads spend it scaring away the monsters in our closets, continuing to read each time we say, “One more time,” and baking in the sun just to see us score our first home run. Their pride and joy at even our most minor accomplishments makes us feel like we can take on the world.From left to right: David and son Finley, Jeff and son Micah, Bobby and daughter Rebekah.
To celebrate Father’s Day, we’re spotlighting three very special Fathers in the St. Baldrick’s community. All of them have had their lives shaken by cancer. Each of their stories covers a different chapter in the story and journey of survivorship.
The Mom of a St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Tells Us Why There’s Need for Research to Help Pediatric Cancer Survivors
Editor’s Note: As we commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and launch the #DFYchildhoodCancers campaign, we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Knott, whose daughter, Arianna, is 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
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.
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.
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.
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