For many children, cancer means extended absences from school. Sometimes these absences come in the form of a few weeks at a time, and sometimes for several months or an entire school year. Regardless of how long the absence, returning to school can be challenging not only for the child with cancer, but also for the child’s classmates and teachers.
When your child is ready to return to school, it is important to talk about any feelings, especially fears, about going back. Some children return without hair and fear being made fun of, some return in wheel chairs and aren’t sure how they will play at recess or can’t return to sports teams. And for some, treatment may have caused learning challenges.
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer is proud that one of the many resources on our website is a section about school support for your child. In this section, at http://www.curesearch.org/School-Support, we offer practical suggestions for parents and teachers to help your child return to school, and continue his or her education when out of school for a long period of time.
Just one day before his second birthday, Braeden was diagnosed with stage III, high-risk neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue and is the most common solid tumor found in children under the age of 1. Braeden underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, several surgeries, a stem cell transplant, and completed twelve cycles of radiation therapy before his fourth birthday. When he relapsed in August of 2008, his parents continued to look for treatment options. Unfortunately Braeden lost his battle in April of 2009.
Kevin and Dawn knew that they couldn’t let their son’s legacy end with his passing, and began looking for ways to share Braeden’s story and raise awareness for other children battling cancer. Kevin explains, “When your child dies, they have made such an impact on you as a parent, and everyone they have touched. You want to make their life continue to mean something and count for something.” The Ultimate Hike program gave them the perfect outlet to do just that. Both Kevin and Dawn were never hikers before they joined the Ultimate Hike program, but now couldn’t imagine life without it. With two hikes under their belts, they have found that the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie felt at the end of a long training hike or when they get to tell Braeden’s story helps them stay connected to their son.
Though Braeden lost his battle, Kevin and Dawn hope that his spirit lives on through their actions and that one day no child will be diagnosed with cancer.
Research could lead to targeted therapies
Chris Porter, MD from the University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital of Denver splits his time seeing pediatric oncology patients and researching targeted therapies aimed at improving treatments for leukemia. His lab at the University of Colorado is focused on using functional genomic screening to identify novel therapeutic strategies for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
With an overall survival rate of 80%, most leukemia patients receive a standardized treatment that has been proven successful. However, when a patient with leukemia relapses, their chances of survival decrease significantly. Dr. Porter plans on researching why these cancers do not respond well to traditional chemotherapy, and what therapies can be created to improve survival rates. He believes that to understand this, doctors need to explore the genes responsible for initiating and maintaining the leukemia and then develop therapies targeted to vulnerabilities that these genes create to successfully treat the disease. Read more…
In this blog you will find not only information about research CureSearch is funding and events we are hosting, but you will also hear from clinicians and scientists, learn the latest happenings in the children’s cancer community, and see stories about the brave children facing this disease and how their families cope with their new lives.
As the new CEO of CureSearch, I am particularly excited about These are the Reasons We Blog because it will provide me the opportunity to talk to you about the funding we will provide to accelerate the cure for children at the greatest risk of losing their battle with cancer. Our goal is to continue to support local hospitals that perform clinical trials, while also driving innovation and collaboration to fund research that quickly turns experiments into treatment.
Throughout the year, I look forward to sharing our progress with you. In the meantime, we welcome your comments and suggestions for topics to address, as well as photos that you would like us to share, and invite you to check back weekly for posts or subscribe via our RSS feed.
CEO, CureSearch for Children’s Cancer
CureSearch Ultimate Hike events are challenging, one-day journeys, held along the trails of spectacular natural settings in parks across the country. In this true ultimate challenge, hikers raise funds for children’s cancer research and trek 15-35 miles in just one day – a feat that requires determination, and mental and physical preparation, but not previous hiking experience.
Armed with coaches, a training schedule, group hikes, and personal fundraising websites, participants train for 8-10 weeks and then set off on their weekend adventure. Once arriving at the Hike location, a pre-event pasta party and post-event breakfast add to the Hikers’ sense of camaraderie.
What started in 2011 has become a tradition among the cancer community, drawing hundreds of hikers each year to show that they will stop at anything to find a cure. Learn how you can join the Ultimate Hike experience by visiting www.ultimatehike.org.
Rhabdomyosarcoma in children (RMS or ‘rhabdo’) is a tumor made up of cancerous cells that look like immature muscle cells. In the United States, about 350 new cases are diagnosed each year in children under 15. Almost two-thirds of children’s rhabdo cases develop in children under 10.
RMS may arise in any part of the body, but the most common sites for this tumor are:
- Adjacent to the base of the skull (parameningeal)
- Around the eye (orbital)
- Other superficial sites in the head and neck, such as the cheek or lip
- Arms and legs (extremities)
- Urinary system and reproductive sexual organs
Thank you for signing up for the CureSearch Walk, a unique event that raises money to fund ongoing clinical trials at local hospitals as well as innovative research. At CureSearch, our goal is to help you every step of the way, ensuring that you have everything you need to meet your fundraising goal and enjoy the CureSearch Walk experience.
When you joined the Walk, you received an email about accessing your headquarters page, called My HQ. This is your very own page to customize as you like. You can set a fundraising goal, post photos of a child (or children) you are walking in honor of, and most importantly, send emails to family and friends asking them to support you financially or by joining you for the event.
In addition to your HQ page, CureSearch is here to be your fundraising coach and help you come up with creative ways to raise money for you and your Walk team. First and foremost, each Walk is managed by a community development manager who will act as your CureSearch point of contact helping you create a successful walk.
As the Walk gets closer, you will receive information from your community development manager about the Walk’s venue, the schedule of the event and activities taking place (like face painting and balloon animals), and the opening ceremony. If you’ve never participated in a CureSearch Walk before, the opening ceremony will be especially moving for you. There, we not only take time to honor the children who fought the fight but lost the battle, we also call all current and past patients to the stage for a medal ceremony honoring them as CureSearch Champions. From there, these very special children lead the Walk carrying a banner that reads “These are the Reasons We Walk.”
Join us this year at a CureSearch Walk at a location near you. To sign-up, visit www.curesearchwalk.org.