Alyson Weissman is a dedicated St. Baldrick’s shavee℠, a member of the 46 Mommas and the founder of a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund which raises crucial funds for lifesaving research. Why does she do so much? Because Alyson is also the parent of a cancer survivor. Read on for more about what being a survivor really means, how she conquers fear and why she works so hard to fund kids’ cancer research.
Alyson shaves her head with St. Baldrick’s as her son holds her hand.
My son Jared was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007. This year, in July, he will be a nine-year cancer survivor.
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 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.
Dr. Ralph Ermoian is a radiation oncologist and St. Baldrick’s infrastructure grant recipient at the University of Washington. He explains what proton therapy is, how it works, and how this treatment is helping kids and adults with cancer.
What is proton therapy?
Proton therapy is a type of radiation used commonly for children with cancer. Like traditional x-ray radiation, it is used to treat cancers, but proton therapy affects less of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
To kick off our new national partnership, Sport Clips decided to celebrate with their biggest head-shaving event yet. Over 130 heads were shaved — at the same time! See how much fun it can be to break a record while helping fund childhood cancer research.
Sport Clips, our first national partner, hosted a head-shaving event last week in San Antonio, Texas, to show just how excited they are to help conquer childhood cancer. And to shave some heads, of course!
Before Preston Kilzer shaved his head for the seventh time last Friday, he gave this speech to a crowded room at the Fado Irish Pub head-shaving event in Denver.I’m Preston and I’m 12 years old. I am a cancer survivor. When I started kindergarten at the age of 6, I was bald and just finished battling a very tough war.
This is my story.
Harlem, center, with his family. Harlem was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of childhood cancer, when he was 5.
I’m still anxious each time it’s check-up time. Will the labs and x-rays be clean? The unknowns always keep you on alert.
Dr. Choi, a St. Baldrick’s Scholar, completed a phase II clinical trial testing a new drug to help kids with leukemia and other childhood cancers, and the results are encouraging. Help fund research like Dr. Choi’s. Get involved.
Kids with leukemia, like 2011 Ambassador Julia, sometimes have to undergo a stem cell transplant as part of their childhood cancer treatment. Graft-versus-host disease is a common complication of transplants.
For some kids with cancer, a stem cell transplant is their only hope for a cure. But stem cell transplants are very risky procedures. About half of all transplant patients will experience acute graft-versus-host disease, or GVHD, an often fatal complication where the transplanted immune cells attack the patient’s body.
Lee and her daughter Melinda, a childhood cancer survivor, attended Childhood Cancer Action Days in Washington, D.C., in June. She details her experience advocating for more childhood cancer research funding.
Lee (left) and Melinda (right) with Representative Lois Capps.
That gold ribbon meant she was “one of us”! We nearly tackled her in our excitement to meet her.
Melinda and I were in Washington, D.C., as members of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer to attend Childhood Cancer Action Days, which would begin the next day. We discovered that the woman who graciously allowed us to “tackle” her was, indeed, “one of us.” We would spend the next day in advocacy training and the following day visiting our Congressional representatives with our newfound friend, Libby Kranz.
Harlem with Jud while Jud shaves his head for St. Baldrick’s.
Harlem and his mom, Lisa. Harlem is one of five 2014 St. Baldrick’s Ambassadors.
I’ll never know the answers to these questions, but I do know that modern medicine has come a long way. Having lost my mother to breast cancer nearly 20 years ago, I could only imagine that my son would be the next person I’d lose to this dreaded disease. Could this child, who has been so full of life since birth, be held back by this diagnosis?
The answer to that question was no! It was Harlem’s disposition that got me through the rough days — and I don’t mean his roughest days, because thankfully he did not have any. As a mother, you want to protect your child and bare any pain they may encounter. The feeling of helplessness pours over you day in and day out. You are happy to see your child’s eyes open in the morning and afraid to see them close at night, praying that this isn’t the last precious moment with them.
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