• Press Release
  • For Immediate Release
  • Media Contact:
    • Michele Franco
    • 626.792.8247 ext. 264
    • michele.franco@stbaldricks.org

Meet the St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2022 Ambassadors

Kids and their families give an in-depth look into the world of childhood cancer and why research is so important

LOS ANGELES (January 18, 2022) – The world through the eyes of a child is often full of wonder and imagination. That world should not include hospital beds, needles, and chemotherapy, but these things are a reality for kids with cancer. To raise awareness about the need to fund childhood cancer research to find cures and better treatments, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants, introduces its 2022 Ambassadors. The Ambassador families, each touched by childhood cancer, will share their journeys of struggle and triumph, hope and despair, and give people a glimpse into their lives and what comes after hearing those life-changing words, “Your child has cancer.”

Coming from many areas of the country, ages, disease types, and stages of their cancer journey, the Ambassadors represent the more than 300,000 kids worldwide diagnosed with cancer each year and serve as a reminder that cancer doesn’t discriminate.

The St. Baldrick’s 2022 Ambassadors are:

Bodie S., is almost three years old and his mom calls him “an old soul.” Diagnosed in September 2021 with neuroblastoma, Bodie’s cancer journey has just begun. He had surgery on December 27, 2021, to remove tumors and an adrenal gland, and faces more chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant in February. His attitude is “fight to win!” and he understands with mature wisdom that even the “ouchies” must be endured if he is to beat this cancer. But, in many ways, Bodie is a typical little boy. He loves race cars, fire trucks, trains, puzzles, and football. Going to the park and Target rank as his top favorite things to do, second only to cuddling with mom to watch a movie or read a book. One day when he’s grown up – for real – Bodie wants to be a firefighter or a doctor or maybe a football player. But for now, Bodie is a contrast of an “old soul” in a little boy’s body, which is serving him well as he takes on the fight of his life.

Danica T. was a sweet and spicy little girl who was adored by all who knew her. At 21 months old, she was diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT), a brain tumor. Danica underwent surgery, chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, and proton radiation, but her disease still came back. Danica participated in a number of clinical trials and pioneering research, such as laser ablation therapy, Tumor Paint, and a daily oral medication she called “the pancake medicine,” or “the tomato one.” Danica loved her life. She passed away in her parents’ arms in March 2021. “Danica made the world a better place,” said the Taylor family. “She brought joy and courage, hope and faith.”

Rocco P. was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in June 2021. When initially told of his diagnosis, this five-year-old’s first concern was becoming well enough to donate blood. His kindness, love for others, and faith have given him strength during treatment. Rocco welcomed 2022 from the hospital, where he finished the third round of an experimental chemotherapy medication. Despite his diagnosis, Rocco is like many kids his age. He loves to play – especially with his brother, RayRay, and sister, Chloe, who are his best friends. Soccer is his favorite sport, and you will find him cheering on RayRay at his soccer practices when he feels well enough to go outside. Rocco loves dinosaurs, Beyblades, puppies, Starbucks bacon egg bites and pasta with meatballs. Even though he has a long road of treatment ahead of him, Rocco will continue to draw on his many strengths to get him through.

Benji S., AKA “Super Benji,” was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer as a baby. He endured surgery and began a rigorous 18-month treatment protocol before his first birthday. Just as he reached the five-year “survival mark,” he was diagnosed with a secondary cancer of the thyroid, requiring removal of his thyroid and lymph nodes as well as more intensive treatment. The very treatment that saved Benji’s life was not without collateral damage. He suffers from hearing loss, lung and respiratory weakness, optic nerve damage, and feeding issues. But he earned the nickname “Super Benji” because he is a fighter. Seven-year-old, Benji loves sports, especially baseball and wrestling – his heroes being the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler Kofi Kingston – mac and cheese, chicken fries, Marvel movies and superheroes, and family game and movie nights.

These families will act as spokespeople for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, attending events and fundraisers and sharing their stories to educate the public about the realities of childhood cancers.

Continue following these courageous stories on the St. Baldrick’s blog and social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.. To learn how you can get involved, visit StBaldricks.org.

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation
Every 2 minutes, a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. In the U.S., 1 in 5 will not survive. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants, is on a mission to give kids a lifetime by supporting the most promising research to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. When you give to St. Baldrick’s, you don’t just give to one hospital – you support virtually every institution with the expertise to treat kids with cancer across the U.S. St. Baldrick’s ensures that children fighting cancer now — and those diagnosed in the future — will have access to the most cutting-edge treatment, by supporting every stage of research, from new ideas in the lab to the development of new therapies, to life-saving clinical trials. Join us at StBaldricks.org and help #GiveKidsALifetime.