British ex-pats Gaylene and Nigel Meeson live between the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong with their 11-year-old daughter, who is a brain cancer survivor.
The Meeson family’s nightmare began with a visit to the pediatrician to discuss Hannah's serious balance issues. Within a few hours, a CT scan revealed a tumor on the cerebellum with hydrocephalus and Hannah was airlifted to Miami for surgery, later diagnosed as anaplastic medulloblastoma.
From July 2012 to May 2014, Hannah was based at MD Anderson Children's Cancer hospital in Houston, Texas and spent only a few weeks at her home in the Cayman Islands. She completed six weeks of proton radiation with sedation to her whole brain and spine, followed by six months of triple drug chemotherapy. In early April 2013, Hannah's MRI showed disease progression and she began another triple drug chemotherapy treatment. After nine cycles of the new combination of drugs, the MRI in May 2014 showed that the tumors had disappeared and the disease was finally stable.
With no known protocols to follow that work for relapse, Hannah's treatment was little more than an educated guess. Funding is desperately needed for new trials, new drugs and treatment options for all pediatric cancers. "All of the drugs Hannah has been given were developed for adults, mostly over 25 years ago, and many of them not even approved for use in children." The long term affects and damage from all the chemotherapy and radiation is permanent, horrific and endless. While she remains stable with no evidence of disease, we continue to work on all her disabilities with daily therapy, hoping that at the very least, she will walk again.
Hannah is our hero. Despite the grueling treatment, being away from home, school and her friends for so many months, she never complained and still manages to smile and laugh. We set up this fund in her honor because, "kids like Hannah are worth fighting for."
Awareness = Funding = Research = Cures
Donations made to the Hannah's Heroes Fund have named a multi-institution Consortium Grant led by Dr. Kimberly Stegmaier at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This group is developing genomics-based precision medical trials for children with leukemia. The fund has named St. Baldrick’s Scholar Grants for Elias Sayour M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Florida and Pratiti Bandopadhayay M.B.B.S., Ph.D at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Both doctors are studying medulloblastoma. Additionally the fund has names St. Baldrick’s Research Grants for David Kirsch M.D., Ph.D. at Duke University Medical Center and Monika Davare Ph.D. at Oregon Health and Science University. Dr. Kirsch is researching DIPG brain tumors and Dr. Davare is researching ways to reactivate the immune system to attack cancer cells.
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 Hannah's Heroes. 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.