Families

Divided, Yet Never So United: Our Family’s Continuing Journey With Childhood Cancer

by Patty Furco
September 24, 2015

Today Abby turns 9, and for the second year in a row, she’s celebrating her birthday in the hospital. Her mom, Patty, reflects on the past year and all the challenges their family has weathered together, from relapse to transplant to today.

Abby in her hospital bed

Abby last November, two months after her relapse.

What a year it has been.

Looking back at where we have been, the many states of mind and motions we have experienced … it’s enough to make my head spin.

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Research

Team of Researchers Targets DNA to Help Kids With Hard-to-Treat Leukemias

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 16, 2015

They say two heads are better than one — what about lots of heads? Thanks to a St. Baldrick’s Consortium Grant, six teams of brilliant minds are working to give hope to kids with hard-to-treat leukemias.

A syringe gun

Fifty years ago, the most common childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), was one of the deadliest.

Cure rates have gone from near zero in the mid-1960s to about 90% currently. That’s amazing, said St. Baldrick’s researcher Dr. Stephen Hunger of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but it’s not enough.

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Kids with Cancer

An Update on Abby [PHOTO ESSAY]

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 28, 2015

At this time last year, one of our Honored Kids had a new lease on life. (You may remember her from this adorable video.)

At age 4, Abby was diagnosed with an aggressive childhood cancer called Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Thanks to research funded by St. Baldrick’s, she went into remission.

But this fall, Abby’s cancer returned. She’s having a bone marrow transplant today.

Here’s an update on Abby.


This summer, Abby completed a kids triathlon.

Abby childhood cancer leukemia St. Baldrick's triathlon

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Research

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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Families

Life After Chemo: Hope, Faith, and Big Steps

by Patty Furco
December 10, 2013

After Abby completed treatment for childhood cancer, her mom had to adjust to a new “normal.”

What do we do now?

Abby

Abby was diagnosed with Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an aggressive form of childhood cancer, when she was 4.

We are just entering the stage of “after.” The protocol is over. Chemo is done. I haven’t given Abby a chemo pill in two months.

After doing that daily — along with a whole host of different treatments — for the last 32 months, it’s scary to stop.

We are extremely thankful for what we have and that we still have Abby here with us. But to say that we are celebrating every day isn’t true. At times I find myself holding my breath and waiting.

Every time I hear her coughing or complaining of something, my mind goes all over the place. For the past almost-three years, it’s never been just a cold; it was usually pneumonia. It never was just a tummy ache; it was C. diff, rotavirus, typhlitis, you name it. And now, without the safety net of chemo, is it the dreaded “R-word” — relapse?

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Families

We Had a Choice: Abby’s Fight Against Ph+ Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

by Joe Furco
November 7, 2013

“Your child has cancer.”

Abby_in_treatment

When Abby was 4, she was diagnosed with Ph+ ALL, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.

I doubt anyone can get past those four words, but at some point, we had to come to terms with them. Like most parents, our response on that day in February, between gasps and tears, was simply, “What do we do now?”

“What do we do now?” began on February 16, 2011, but it didn’t stop that day when our 4-year-old daughter, Abby, was diagnosed with pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

“Every child is different, every disease is different, but this is relatively good news,” explained the doctor. “ALL is one of the most common forms of leukemia, and great advances in treatment have been made.”

One week into chemotherapy treatment, Abby’s diagnosis got more complicated when we learned she had Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) ALL, an aggressive subtype of leukemia. Our oncologists let us know that the recommended care would involve a bone marrow transplant.

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Kids with Cancer

Update on Ambassador Zoe, the Cancer-Fighting Dancer [VIDEO]

by Suzanne Hunter
September 20, 2013

Zoe, a 2010 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador, was diagnosed with Ph+ ALL when she was 4 years old. Now 9, Zoe is starting fourth grade, taking hip hop and ballet classes, and is starting treatment with a targeted chemotherapy pill. Zoe’s mom, Suzanne, gives us an update.

Zoe-and-mom-sunglasses

2010 St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Zoe with her mom, Suzanne.  Zoe recently started treatment for a molecular relapse due to Ph+ ALL.

When I think of all the things Zoe has seen and done in her life, it is hard to believe she is only 9 years old.

When Zoe was 4, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At first we were told it was the best-case scenario, that leukemia had great treatments and outcomes.

Eight days later, that all changed.

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Kathleen’s Desk

FDA Approves Gleevec to Treat Children with Ph+ ALL

by Kathleen Ruddy, CEO, St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 25, 2013


Little victories are made in research labs every day in the long, determined fight against childhood cancers, but today, I’m excited to say, is a big victory kind of day.  More kids with a specific type of cancer will survive!

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Gleevec (imatinib) to treat children newly diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL).

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Kids with Cancer

Goodbye Cancer. Hello 3rd Grade.

by Suzanne Hunter
August 29, 2012
The doctors told us not to worry. “Growing pains,” they said.

Zoe was four at the time, and had started limping. My animated, lively daughter, who once turned hallways into runways, was hardly moving. It was a complete, dramatic shift – something I knew was more than just growing pains.

And it was. In 2008, my sweet girl was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer. “She has good odds,” they told us. Survival rates are high for this type of cancer and she should be able to continue most of her normal activities during treatment. We were shocked, but full of hope.

Eight days later, we received a second set of news. And this time, it was worse.

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