Throughout September, in recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, St. Baldrick’s will launch its new campaign DFY (pronounced “defy”) Childhood Cancers and will share stories of kids affected by cancer, like Arianna Lewis.
Arianna was a healthy baby until she began having chronic respiratory problems, which doctors initially dismissed as not serious. It wasn’t until her bright, happy and outgoing demeanor was replaced by crying, lethargy and a loss of appetite that her parents pressed for more tests.
Shortly after Arianna’s first birthday, she was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), an extremely rare disease that affects young children, with approximately 50 new cases occurring in the United States each year. Arianna went through chemotherapy treatments, a bone marrow transplant and spent 409 days in the hospital.
While the bone marrow transplant was successful, and Arianna is now cancer-free, she remains in treatment for graft vs. host disease (GVHD) in her gut, skin, lungs, and liver. She’s a candidate for an intestinal and liver transplant, as well as colon removal. Arianna has gross and fine motor delays, and her immune system is compromised – all late effects of her treatment. Arianna is defying the odds each day by regaining muscle strength in her jaw and is learning how to speak.
Unfortunately, Arianna and her family are not alone in the struggles with childhood cancer. In fact, in the United States, more children are lost to cancer than all other childhood diseases combined. Even for kids who survive, the battle is not over. By the time they’re 50, more than 99% of childhood cancer survivors have had a chronic health problem — like loss of hearing, sight or limbs — and 96% have experienced severe or life-threatening conditions, including secondary cancers, heart problems and more.
As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is on a mission to help DFY childhood cancers and highlight the critical need to fund lifesaving research while spreading awareness about the harsh realities of childhood cancer.
With funds from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, we can make sure that more children survive, and that life after childhood cancer doesn’t have to be such a harrowing experience.
“Here at St. Baldrick’s, we are proud to fund research and clinical trials at more than 376 institutions across the United States and beyond,” said Kathleen Ruddy, CEO of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “So far in 2019, we have awarded more than $21 million in grants to fund childhood cancer research – but we still have a long way to go if we want to give every child access to the best treatments available. Your donations enable St. Baldrick’s to give more kids with cancer hope for a cure and a future.”
Join St. Baldrick’s this September and support promising research through one or more of the activities below:
- Make a donation: Donate to help kids like Arianna live long, healthy lives.
- Participate in or Start an Event: Search for an event near you or start your own. Do you attend or work at a college? You can join St. Baldrick’s Battle of the Bald and be the university to raise the most money for childhood cancer research.
- Get Social: Follow St. Baldrick’s on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and like and share the content using the hashtag #DFYchildhoodCancers or #StBaldricks.