When Life Throws You a Curveball

This guest blog post by Zach Feuerherd

Zach Bald - School Picture

It’s almost baseball season. That means spring is on the horizon, and the majority of baseball fans have yet to have their hopes dashed. Some of my favorite memories growing up were watching and playing baseball. One particular baseball memory from my childhood still resonates with me today. The lessons I learned from that experience still guide and shape my life today.

That particular baseball season I was probably better suited for the “disabled list.” It was the fall of 1999, and six months earlier I had been diagnosed with cancer; specifically Leukemia just before my thirteenth birthday. I had always been a “Type A” kind of kid – lots of energy, always on the move, and I loved to play sports. That all changed the minute I heard the words…”you have cancer.”

I spent the next two weeks on the third floor of Children’s Hospital in Washington DC. Over the next six months I received a nasty cocktail of chemotherapy drugs. I lost my hair, my coordination, and thanks to the steroid Prednisone I was as chunky as the Pillsbury Doughboy. The poisons and procedures — Vincristine, Methotrexate, spinal taps, although necessary to destroy the cancer sometimes made it hard to walk, much less run. I was determined however to get back on the baseball field.

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Bob Evans Joins the Fight Against Children’s Cancer

When Bob Evans employee Bill and his wife found out that their seven-year-old son, Zach, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Bob Evans made a decision to join them in the fight against children’s cancer. Through a Facebook initiative, Bob Evans raisedBob Evans $10,000 for CureSearch to continue to fund innovated research. Bob Evans commitment to helping their community is shown through their dedication to organizations like CureSearch.

Zach chooses not to let cancer define who he is but uses cancer to show people how they can help. Bob Evans has decided to do the same thing.

Though Zach’s journey seems rough, he chooses not to let cancer define who he is but rather uses cancer to show people how they can help. Zach’s father Bill explains, “Zach has been our hero as he continues to show a positive attitude through the obstacles of having cancer and its treatments.  Zach tends to inspire and bring smiles to everyone he meets.”

Much like Zach, Bob Evans commitment to doing the right thing is not only found on the product guarantee on the back of every Bob Evans grocery product, but also in the way that they support their team members and communities. Please join CureSearch and Bob Evans in helping Zach and his family in their fight against cancer.

Help Bob Evans ensure that one day, every child is guaranteed to have a cancer-free future.

Asking Friends for Help

_TCP6421When a child is diagnosed with cancer, there is often an immediate outpouring of support from friends and community members wanting to help, often in the form of gifts for the child, calls to check-in, and food delivered to the family’s home.  Such support is wonderful, and greatly appreciated, but it may or may not be what is needed, and it often trickles off once the initial shock of the diagnosis has been accepted and a “new normal” of settling into treatment routines is established for the family.

So, how does a family ask for the support it needs, when it is needed. At CureSearch, we’ve worked hard to develop content for you about asking for help.  It may be that you don’t need food, but you need someone to go cheer for another child’s soccer game.  Or, maybe you and your spouse really need a “date night.” Or, perhaps you need someone else to update your child’s blog or Caring Bridge page during an especially busy and or difficult phase of treatment.

Whatever it is, we invite you to visit http://www.curesearch.org/Community-Support/ for ideas and suggestions about how and what to ask for friends and neighbors. You’ll be amazed how responsive people are if you simply ask!

Little Girl’s Memory Lives on Through Family’s Determination

Sheridan-BautistaFull2

In March of 2011, Sheridan Bautista was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of seven. Doctors found a tumor located above her left knee that encompassed 75% of her femur. She immediately started chemotherapy in preparation for a revolutionary limb salvage surgery where 75% of her femur was removed and replaced with an implant that would grow with her, without the need for lengthening surgeries. The surgery was a complete success and started her road to recovery. Through physical therapy and a lot of determination, Sheridan was able to walk just 3 months after her surgery.

 

Sheridan-BautistaFull

Before her diagnosis Sheridan was an active girl who was involved with competitive dance, gymnastics, and softball. She always strove to be kind and say what was on her mind. Even throughout her treatment, this spirit continued. Sheridan was also someone who wanted to help others and would do whatever she could to make them smile.

 

While at the hospital, Sheridan and her family learned about the CureSearch Walk and Sheridan immediately knew she wanted to get involved. She worked hard to recruit team members and raise funds – her determination lead to her team to raise over $7,000. The day after her 8th birthday, Sheridan walked in the Oklahoma City CureSearch Walk; an incredible feat just months after surgery. She was so excited to be a part of the event and receive her survivor medal.

 

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Top Ten Hiking Tips

This guest blog post by Joe Miller, Raleigh Ultimate Hike Coach and author of 100 Classic Hikes in North Carolina

Looking to make the most of your Ultimate Hike experience? Here are 10 suggestions that should help.

  1. Get boots that fit. I used to always get boots on sale or close-out — then weclickforcauses (102 of 46) wonder why my feet would get so beat up. Hiking boots/shoes is one area where you should focus on fit, comfort and performance and endure the sticker shock. Read more…
  2. Socks: Back in the day, we had one sock option: tube socks (though we did have quite the array of colored calf stripes to choose from). Today, there’s a “technical sock” for every occasion. Hiking in dry, sandy conditions? There’s a sock for that. In a jungle? Got ya covered. Climbing a scree field? Yup, there’s a sock specifically woven for that (or so the packaging claims). Read more…
  3. Hydrate! If you take but one piece of advice from this post, make it this: drink! Nothing torpedoes a hike faster than becoming dehydrated. Hydration is an ongoing process, one you should be particularly aware of two to three days prior to a big hike. Read more…
  4. Layer your clothes. Some of you will begin training in the cold of winter and do your hike in the heat of spring. Others will start training during the dog days of summer and do your hike in the cool of middle to late fall. Either way, you’ll be hiking through a range of temperatures and weather — sometimes in the same day. From a clothing standpoint you’ll need to be equipped to deal with heat and cold and dry and wet conditions. Read more…
  5. Eat! “Bonk”: that’s the technical term for getting to the mid-point of a 10-mile hike and suddenly running out of energy — and the will to proceed. Avoid bonking with the one-two punch of fueling up beforehand and during a long hike. Read more…
  6. Train for night hiking. No kidding, at almost every Ultimate Hike at least one hiker seems surprised and shocked by the fact it’s dark — and will be for at least the first couple hours. The notion of hiking at night — through a dark forest amid a cacophony of weird and unidentifiable sounds  — can seem freaky at first. But for most, once they hit the trail and get used to living within the cozy glow of their headlamp, it’s a treat. Read more…weclickforcauses (104 of 46)
  7. Consider hiking poles. It’s interesting how many people have no interest in hiking poles at the start of training and how many do after the first 10- or 12-mile hike. Leave your vanity in the closet and do your knees and feet a favor by getting hiking poles. Read more…
  8. Have a good day pack. If you already have a pack, stick with it for the first few weeks. Take note of what works for you (lots of pockets), what doesn’t (minimal access to the main compartment). Then go to your favorite outfitter and check out the options. Read more…
  9. Cross-train. It’s not all about hiking. True, the best way to build up to a 25- or 30- or 35-mile hike is to take long hikes. But odds are you don’t have time to head out every day for a 2-hour, 6-mile hike. Read more…
  10. Listen to your body. As your hikes get longer, your body will be entering new physiological territory. New things will be sore, new aches will surface. You’ll want to pay attention to these new and strange feelings and deal with them before they become an issue. I suggest keeping a malady journal with you on your hike and making note of any  annoyances that pop up. Read more…

Day In the Life: Cynthia Leach, CCRP

Cynthia LeachCynthia Leach is the Clinical Trial Manager at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s Center for Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders. Cynthia is in charge of all of the clinical trial protocols at the hospital; she enrolls patients, manages data collected through the clinical trials, looks for toxicities and adverse effects to treatment, and works with each department to ensure that the clinical trials are managed properly. CureSearch recently talked to Cynthia to learn more about what her role entails.

Q: What lead you to pediatric oncology?

A: During my college internship, I was able to work on the children’s oncology floor and knew then that I wanted to do all I could to help make life better for the kids who came in for treatment. It’s been a journey these past few years, with ups and downs, but I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Q: Tell me about a typical day at the hospital.

A:Every day is a little different. Usually, I attend a morning meeting, at which we discuss each child that is coming in that day. These meetings are a forum for the medical team to prepare for what each patient will need and make sure that each department is on the same page. Being the clinical trials manager requires that I work with patients and their families to make sure that they are on track with their treatment protocols. I also collect samples from different procedures  for laboratory analysis to show the progress of the treatment.

Q:What is your favorite part of your job?

A: I love working with children and their families. Being able to walk into the play room and get caught up interacting with a child makes the work we do much more personal. Since I work on outpatient floor on the oncology ward, I get to know some of the children on the clinical trials very well. It’s great when everything goes well and we can successfully treat these kids and they get to go to kindergarten, get their drivers licenses, or go to prom.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?

A:The hardest part of my job is when treatment isn’t successful. I want to do as much as I can for the children we treat, but sometimes it isn’t enough. I know that no matter the outcome, the work we all do helps to create better treatments for children with cancer.

Playtime Therapy for Children Recovering From Cancer

When the surgery has passed and chemotherapy has ended, cancer’s toll on the body remains.

playtime_therapyChildren who want to get back to handstands and Hula Hoops can find themselves weak and discouraged.

Concerns about the physical well-being of children who’ve had cancer prompted athletic trainer Travis Gallagher to encourage Nationwide Children’s Hospital to start its Play Strong program.

“These patients, they just want to get back to being a kid,” he said.

Each child comes to the year-old program with a unique set of challenges, but the most common are muscle weakness, difficulty balancing and weight gain brought on by treatments or inactivity.

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