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Patient of the Month - July 2011

July 2011 Patient of the Month

4 years old



Emma was found to suffer from glioblastoma in September 2010.


Emma's story:

In the middle of one night in November 2009, 2-year-old Emma's parents were stunned to see their normally healthy and active child having seizures. Soon she was having 80-100 seizures a day. They rushed her to a local hospital, where she was given medication and sent home. But soon, the medicine stopped working, and on Thanksgiving Day they rushed Emma to a local hospital where doctors determined the seizures were being caused by a tumor, identified as a primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).

Emma underwent surgery and five months of chemotherapy, but she would also need radiation. Her parents were concerned about the effects radiation could have on a young child, including severe cognitive damage, so they searched for other options. They were impressed with the measures St. Jude Children's Research Hospital takes with focalized radiation, which greatly reduces the chance of cognitive issues because the radiation therapy is concentrated on a specific area. They asked for a referral to St. Jude.


At St. Jude:

At St. Jude, Emma underwent surgery to remove the rest of the tumor, after which doctors discovered that Emma's tumor was actually a glioblastoma. Emma underwent six weeks of focalized radiation and is currently receiving a year of chemotherapy. She visits St. Jude every two weeks for intravenous chemotherapy and also takes oral chemotherapy at home.

Emma's family is thankful for the donors who support St. Jude. "To be able to come here and not have a worry about how you're going to pay for it, to not have to worry about whether you can afford it, or where you're going to stay, or how you're going to eat. It's amazing," said Emma's mother. "Coming to St. Jude, Emma just feels so comfortable. She has no fear here. She loves it."

Emma is a sweet-natured girl who loves to play with her baby dolls, brothers and little cousins.

July 2011

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