As the oldest of three siblings, Nina has always been protective of her two brothers. But when she found out her youngest brother, William, had childhood cancer, everything changed. Read Nina’s story of how her family came together to conquer childhood cancer.
The Doyle siblings (left to right): Thomas, Nina, and William.
I will never forget one day in September 2002. It was the day my youngest sibling, William, was diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB), a rare form of lung cancer.
The words “your brother has cancer” still ring in my ears to this day.
St. Baldrick’s volunteers show their support for kids with cancer in fun ways! You can, too. Get involved.
Kris and her son Will dressed up as video game characters Wario and Waluigi.
Although not many people asked me outright, I could see the question in their eyes. I’m sure they probably thought I was a video game fanatic.
The truth is, I don’t play video games all that well. But my son does.
Megan Flynn with her infant son, Andrew. Photo by Simply Bliss Photography.
But that was how doctors discovered she had a rare genetic mutation that likely played a role in the development of her childhood cancer — and that led to her infant son’s rare lung cancer.
Megan’s childhood cancer
When Megan was diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer called Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor in 1997, no one knew much about her type of cancer, let alone what caused it. After surgery and five years of follow-up scans to make sure the cancer hadn’t returned, Megan was sent on her way.
She graduated college, got married, and started having kids of her own, always wondering in the back of her mind what had caused her cancer and if it was something she should worry about with her own children. “I just never really had any answers,” she said.
Kris, a St. Baldrick’s volunteer and shavee℠, was one of 10 winners of the Lexus Bold IS video contest. She donated her prize to St. Baldrick’s to help fund childhood cancer research. You can help, too.
Kris, second from right, and her family in front of the St. Baldrick’s-themed Lexus Bold IS.
As the mother of a childhood cancer survivor and a participant in your Lexus Bold IS video contest, I would like to take this moment to thank you for joining with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and offering this unique opportunity for its shavees to take a bold new step in their efforts to promote awareness for childhood cancer and to secure funding for a cure.
However, before I do so, I would like to share with you some of the reasons why your collaboration with St. Baldrick’s has helped foster hope in the hearts of those touched by childhood cancer.
Photo by Creativity103.com
He stands before the world as a survivor, a tangible link to a terrible disease. There are many like him — boys and girls blessed with the ability to walk out of the hospital and away from the monster that is childhood cancer. They are living, breathing proof that some kids make it through the fight, and we cling to their stories of survival to inspire us to fight cancer.
Join Kris and shave your head to cure childhood cancer.
And no matter which way the question is posed, I am left with the general understanding that at some point in the past 11 years, I am expected to have simply been grateful that my son’s life was spared, quietly walked away from the cancer world, and focused on going back to a life that should be far less distressing and depressing.
Why can’t I let go?
Benjamin Mizukawa, M.D., received a three-year, $330,000 St. Baldrick’s Scholar award to support his work focused on acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Although most leukemia cells are readily killed by chemotherapy, if the leukemia stem cell is not killed in treatment, chances of survival are very low.
“We are studying how leukemia stem cells maintain self-renewal, or the ability to give rise to new leukemia cells,” Dr. Mizukawa explained. “By understanding the signals needed for self-renewal, we hope to identify new drugs to eliminate the leukemia stem cell and prevent relapsed disease.”
We took our son Will there a lot when he was going through cancer treatment. He couldn’t go in the water because we couldn’t risk infection, but I used to carry him on the beach and dream of the day he would be able to dance in the water.
When it finally did happen, I cried; we were so lucky.
While I was at the beach this time, 10 years later, I watched my son walk up and down the beach taking pictures and looking for shells. And I smiled. But at the same time, my heart hurt because I remembered a picture posted last spring — exactly a year ago — of a little boy named Ryan.
My name is William. I am 14 years old.
Ten years ago, just after my fourth birthday, I was diagnosed with a childhood cancer called pleuropulmonary blastoma, or PPB. I had to have surgery to remove tumors from my lungs followed by months of chemotherapy to make sure it stayed away.
Luckily, for me, the treatment worked. But for many, treatment doesn’t work and they don’t survive. In fact, several of my friends and roommates from the hospital died while I was being treated.