Real-Life Stories

‘The Miracle Kid’: The Story of Brittany Ross

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 30, 2018
Brittany smiles during her wedding day

A childhood cancer survivor, Brittany Ross smiles during her long-awaited wedding day to her fiance, Patrick.

When Honored Kid Brittany Ross was told that she’d be lucky to live another three weeks, she didn’t react with sadness. She didn’t bury her head under her hospital bed blankets and cry or ask, ‘Why me?’

She was mad. She was fired up. She was determined to beat childhood cancer.

“They made it seem like I had no chance,” Brittany said of her diagnosis in December 2000. “At this time, I was like, ‘Look, I’m 15 years old. I haven’t really started living my life yet.’”

And she had a come-back that any teenager would be proud of.

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Research

From Cancer Treatment to Parenthood: The Impact of Childhood Cancer on Fertility

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 11, 2017

When a child survives cancer, the journey isn’t over. Childhood cancer survivors face the effects of their treatment for the rest of their lives — even when they decide to have children of their own. Meet 2012 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Sarah, a 28-year-old survivor who’s ready to be a mom, and Dr. Jill Ginsberg, a St. Baldrick’s researcher who’s determined to preserve the fertility of people like Sarah.

A collage of Sarah and Patrick

Sarah and Patrick have been together for 10 years, through Sarah’s relapse and beyond. Last year, they got married. Now they want to start a family and they are ready to face the challenges together.

As long as she can remember, Sarah Rostock wanted to be a mom. But she didn’t anticipate one massive obstacle — childhood cancer.

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Research

St. Baldrick’s Researcher Helps Fellow Childhood Cancer Survivors Thrive

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 29, 2017

Cancer survivorship issues are close to Dr. Brandon McNew’s heart. It’s not just because he treats kids with cancer as a pediatric oncologist — the St. Baldrick’s researcher was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 10 years old. Read on for more about his childhood cancer journey, why he was drawn to pediatric oncology and what he’s doing (with a little help from St. Baldrick’s) to help fellow cancer survivors live long, healthy lives.

Dr. McNew

Dr. McNew is both a St. Baldrick’s researcher and a shavee. He rocked the bald at a Cedar Rapids, Iowa event in 2015.

For Dr. Brandon McNew, treating kids with cancer isn’t just a professional calling. It’s personal.

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Survivors

A Survivor Speaks: ‘Don’t Find My Silver Linings For Me’

by Brooke Vittimberga
June 27, 2017

Honored Kid Brooke was diagnosed with PH+ acute myeloid leukemia in 2015. She is now a survivor, but that doesn’t mean life is easy, ‘normal’ or back to a fraction of what it was like before cancer. Brooke explains…

Collage of Brooke

(Left) Brooke during treatment after her 2015 diagnosis. (Right) Brooke poses for a photo during her first day back at school this year.

Cancer survivorship isn’t pretty. When I was diagnosed, I imagined that if I survived, my life after cancer would somehow be sweeter. Maybe I would appreciate the little things more or unlock some secret wisdom that would render me happier, more peaceful. This was believable through my first few rounds of chemo.

Then, I had a bone marrow transplant and became so ill that I spent five months inpatient post-transplant.

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Research

St. Baldrick’s Researcher Rethinks Childhood Cancer Treatment

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 21, 2017

Dr. Noah Federman first decided to become a doctor because he wanted to help people. Mission accomplished, Dr. Federman. Over his years as a physician, he’s helped countless children with cancer, including cancer survivors like 2013 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Emily. Read on for more about Dr. Federman, his St. Baldrick’s Scholar award and what he envisions for the future of childhood cancer research.

Dr. Noah Federman

Dr. Noah Federman meets with a patient.

Dr. Noah Federman first met Emily back at the very beginning, soon after she discovered a persistent bump on her right leg — the first sign of a bone cancer called osteosarcoma.

The St. Baldrick’s Scholar has been there for Emily ever since, through the ups and downs of treatment, through her surgery and even now during survivorship, as she prepares to celebrate five years cancer free.

It’s a proud moment for Dr. Federman.

He became a doctor to make a difference in the lives of children like Emily — to help them beat cancer, get out of the hospital, and grow up healthy and happy.

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Families

The Girl Who Beat the Odds: Lily’s Story

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 19, 2017

Spunky, determined, and positive, 12-year-old Lily is a childhood cancer survivor in a family continually facing the disease. Read on for more of her inspirational story and see how this two-time shavee℠ is facing cancer survivorship head on and helping other kids like her.

Lily with her mom, Jennifer, during Lily's 2014 shave

Lily with her mom, Jennifer, during Lily’s 2014 shave.

For the Mallory family, hope is a curly-haired, 11-year-old girl named Lily.

In 2008 at the age of 3, Lily was diagnosed with two cancers — an adrenal cortical carcinoma and a sarcoma in her leg. Years later, her mom was diagnosed with two cancers too — breast cancer and sarcoma in her arm. The breast cancer has since metastasized to her bones, lungs and brain.

“There’s only so much you can do, but you could always be that one. You could be the Lily that defies all the odds,” said her mother, Jennifer.

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Childhood Cancer

Defying the Odds: Childhood Cancer Survivor Climbs World’s Highest Peaks

by Avis Matsuda, St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 15, 2017

Sean Swarner has been on top of the world — in more ways than one. He defeated cancer twice and was the first cancer survivor to summit Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak — a feat he accomplished with only one functioning lung. This is his amazing survivorship story.

Sean

Sean Swarner treks to the North Pole, becoming the first cancer survivor to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, a challenge to reach the North Pole, the South Pole and all of the Seven Summits.

Like most teens, Sean loved sports, hanging out with friends and the outdoors. But at the age of 13, that all changed when a knee injury sent him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma and given three months to live.

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