Real-Life Stories

The Top 2021 Messages Worth Remembering

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 16, 2021

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.

Sarah Swaim, age 31, two-time leukemia survivor & advocate

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation shares the top 2021 messages worth remembering. 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.

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Surviving After Five Years: The Secret Truth of Long-Term Survivorship

by Alyson Weissman
August 21, 2017

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.

Jared holds his mom's hand as she shaves

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.

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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 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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What Is Proton Therapy?

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 20, 2016

What is Proton Therapy

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.

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Sport Clips Breaks St. Baldrick’s Record for Most Heads Shaved at Once [PHOTO ESSAY]

by Jeena Gould, St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 15, 2016

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 Shave the Day group photo

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!

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‘Until We Find a Cure’: Childhood Cancer Survivor Rallies the Crowd in Denver [VIDEO]

by Preston Kilzer
March 17, 2015

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.

Photos of Preston Kilzer during and after treatment for childhood cancer
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.

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When Can We Exhale? The Hopes and Fears of a Parent of a Childhood Cancer Survivor

by Lisa Clemons
October 2, 2014

Ambassador Harlem has been in remission from Hodgkin lymphoma for nearly three years, but his mom, Lisa, still fears its return. Help kids like Harlem — get involved.

Harlem and his family

Harlem, center, with his family. Harlem was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of childhood cancer, when he was 5.

When do we, as parents of children with cancer, exhale?

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.

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St. Baldrick’s Researcher Tests New Treatment for Graft-Versus-Host Disease

by Rebecca Bernot, St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 1, 2014

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.

Julia in treatment for acute myeloid leukemia

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.

It’s no secret that kids die from cancer, but it’s not always the cancer that kills them.

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.

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Why I Went to D.C. for Childhood Cancer Action Days

by Lee Marchiano
August 21, 2014

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 and Melinda Marchiano with Congresswoman Lois Capps

Lee (left) and Melinda (right) with Representative Lois Capps.

The streets of Washington, D.C., were abuzz with early-summer tourists and legislative-looking professionals. As my 20-year-old daughter, Melinda, and I weaved swiftly through the crowds, we kept our sights on a woman walking far in front of us. She was wearing a t-shirt with a large childhood cancer awareness ribbon on it.

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.

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Ambassador Harlem ‘Made It Real’ For Shavees and Volunteers at Pinterest Event

by Jud Hoffman
May 12, 2014

Jud, Head of Community at Pinterest, recounts his company’s first St. Baldrick’s event. Join Jud — be a shavee℠!

Jud and Harlem

Harlem with Jud while Jud shaves his head for St. Baldrick’s.

I first heard about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation from two friends who never intended to shave their heads — until they did.

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