Honored Kid

Anna Yacovacci

Anna  Yacovacci Kid Photo

Location

Shelton , CT, US

Diagnosis

Brain or spinal cord tumor

Date of Diagnosis

February 2004

Status

Angel

Treated At

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

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My Story

Anna loved her family and was loved in return. She liked to dance, chase butterflies and anything that was purple. Her favorite movie was Harry Potter. She had the rare opportunity of viewing the first movie in her home before it even hit the theaters! She lived in Shelton, CT with her parents, Keri and Joe. In August of 2003, it was noticed that Anna was having difficulty controlling her eye movements and facial expressions, she started to stutter and was occasionally falling down. Her mother being a nurse, immediately took her to the pediatrician to get checked and run various test. In September 2003, at the age of 4, she was diagnosed with a pontine glioma (brainstem tumor). There is no surgical option in the treatment of these tumors. A diffuse pontine glioma or brainstem glioma is a high-grade, or malignant, tumor. This type of tumor arises in the glial (supportive) tissue of the lowest, stem-like part of the brain, which controls many vital functions. Diffuse pontine gliomas account for 10-15 percent of all childhood central nervous system tumors. The median age at diagnosis is 5 to 9 years old, and these tumors occur with equal frequency in boys and girls. Anna underwent 8 weeks of daily radiation therapy at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as well as participated in clinical trials. The tumor did shrink and she regained functionality for a short period of time. Unfortunately, 4 months later the tumor returned more aggressively and she was deemed ineligible for another radiation treatment plan. Homeopathic regimens were administered and endless hours of research to find a surgical solution were employed, but nothing short of a miracle was certainly needed. It was a long, painful journey because Anna didn’t understand why she couldn’t walk, eat or play like she did just a short time before the diagnosis. Her family painstakingly cared for her as her condition deteriorated and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. Anna joined the angels in September 2004 - 1 year after she was diagnosed. The prognosis for diffuse pontine gliomas remains poor. Median survival is less than 1 year and the 2-year survival rate is less than 20 percent. We would be very happy to see a portion of the St. Baldrick's money raised go to doctors and researchers to develop a surgical solution and more effective targeted therapies for these tumors so that no child has to endure this terrible experience.

The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect

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Children who are fighting or have fought cancer inspire others to be part of the Foundation's mission — to support the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

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