In July 2008 our beautiful, bright, funny and sweet 8 year old son Aiden was diagnosed with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma. He had a grapefruit sized tumor in his pelvis and the cancer had metastasized to his lungs.
Aiden was the type of child who made an impression on everyone he met. People always commented on how special he was. When he was a toddler, a friend asked how it felt to be the Mom of such an exceptional child. I said,” Every mother feels their child is exceptional.” She said, “No. Not like this. He is truly remarkable.” When he received this horrific diagnosis, I felt in my soul that God would not take him from us. He was surely meant for some great task. He was supposed to use his gifts to do something wonderful for the world.
One day while driving to the city for treatment, Aiden said, “I think I know why I got Cancer. I got cancer so I could cure Cancer.” He made his treatment a scientific study. Even at the young age of 9 he asked questions about the cells in his body and the science of the chemotherapy he was receiving. One doctor remarked that after spending 5 minutes with him he was convinced he could solve the crisis in the Middle East.
Aiden attended his first St Baldrick’s event in 2009. He was brought to a local restaurant, Trinity in Floral Park, by Bob GaNun, a man from our town who was passionate about the cause of Childhood Cancer. Bob had a fire truck bring Aiden to the event. When we arrived, 5 nine year old boys stood cheering. , Aiden's friends and teammates were there waiting to shave their heads. We were amazed by the courage of these boys and the love and support Aiden was receiving. Aiden, who always wore a hat to cover his bald head, took off his hat for the first time in public that day. He stood among his newly bald friends and smiled the biggest smile we saw in a long time. He said, “For the first time I feel normal.” St. Baldrick’s raises money for the most promising treatments and at the same time, sends the message to those fighting that they are not alone. A very powerful message.
In December 2010, Aiden passed away from the monster disease. He suffered and fought like a lion. He died knowing how his story helped others. How his life brought out the best in others. His life has inspired others to get involved in St Baldrick’s and to date our Floral Park event has raised 1.7 million dollars. 250 people shaved their heads and raised money last year in his memory. Aiden was right all along. He got cancer to cure cancer. Just not the way we thought he would. Aiden's Army will continue marching until a cure comes.
Donations given to the Aiden's Army Fund have funded St. Baldrick's Scholar grants. for Benjamin Stanton, Ph.D. and Brian Ladle, M.D. Ph.D., a St. Baldrick's Fellow grant for Michael Deel M.D., and a St. Baldrick's Research Grant for Guangheng Li M.D., Ph.D. All of these researchers are working to find cures for rhabdomyosarcoma.
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of leading experts in the childhood cancer community, to ensure that every dollar makes the greatest impact for kids with cancer.
These people make us smile - they’re the doers and money-raisers on behalf of Aiden's Army. They’re shaving their heads, hosting events, starting fundraisers and more to make childhood cancer research possible.
Start your own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money on behalf of our Hero Fund! You’ll be paired with a staff member who will walk you through every step of the process, and you’ll have fun knowing you’re doing a great thing for kids with cancer.
Register to shave your head and raise money for our Hero Fund at any St. Baldrick’s event happening around the world! Not finding an event near you? Register as a virtual shavee and shave your head anytime, anywhere.