Real-Life Stories

Childhood Cancer Survivors Shouldn’t Spend Their Lives Struggling

by Marianne Bergman
May 18, 2018

Marianne’s daughter, Melissa, is a 31-year survivor of pediatric brain cancer — essentially, she’s a miracle. But being a survivor doesn’t mean that the childhood cancer journey is over. Just the opposite. Here is Marianne with the story of a recent difficult chapter of Melissa’s ongoing struggle with the long-term effects of her treatment.

Melissa with her nurse

Marianne’s daughter, Melissa, with her nurse of 31 years. Melissa was diagnosed with brain cancer as a child and has since struggled with severe long-term effects from the intense treatment she received.

It’s been over 31 years and it can still make my heart race with fear. Cancer. Cancer. Cancer.

Melissa, my daughter, has lived independently for over 17 years, despite limitations caused by treatment for pediatric brain cancer. Seventeen years after finishing treatment, she began suffering through many seizures and 8 strokes. She was forced to quit her job with Disney and rely on disability benefits to pay her bills.

Learn more about childhood cancer survivors like Melissa >

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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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