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Taryn Allen Ph.D.
Funded: 07-01-2017 through 06-30-2018
Funding Type: Supportive Care Research Grant
Institution Location: Bethesda, MD
Institution: National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health affiliated with NIH Clinical Center

Children diagnosed with brain tumors and their parents have many challenges when there is little hope for a cure. Research shows that children who have an incurable brain tumor and their parents are stressed, less happy with their lives, and in poorer health when compared to healthy children and their parents, yet no known helpful coping strategies have been developed for this brain tumor population. Mindfulness exercises are a type of coping tool that help people pay attention to the present moment and handle difficult emotions that come up when facing very stressful life events. In particular, mindfulness exercises have been shown to improve quality of life in children and adults with terminal illness. With the MaxLove Project Fund St. Baldrick's Supportive Care Research Grant, Dr. Allen is evaluating a new coping program using age-appropriate mindfulness activities to improve the quality of life of children diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor and their families. Coping interventions are greatly needed for this population. The MaxLove Project Fund honors the survivorship journey of Max Wilford who was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor at the age of four. Despite several surgeries and an intense treatment protocol, Max is now able to be a “regular” kid due in large part to integrative therapies he received.