St. Jude patient Griffin (right), age 7, blood cancer, and his identical twin brother, Graham

Silly siblings

Griffin likes to play baseball and basketball with his twin brother, Graham, and their older siblings. But things weren’t all fun and games when Griffin’s family found out he had a rare type of cancer. They quickly turned to St. Jude for help.

 

In the summer of 2017, Griffin, his identical twin Graham, their older brother and sister and their parents traveled to Hawaii. They swam with dolphins, played on the sandy beaches, admired the sunsets and embraced the Aloha spirit.

It was vastly different than the summer of 2016, when Griffin’s parents, Shannon and Bill, worried whether the makeup of their family might be forever altered.

“Graham is a few minutes older than Griffin,” Shannon said. “Griffin’s the true baby of the family. When we found out he had cancer, it was devastating.”

In July 2016, Griffin’s family learned he had a rare type of leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia, which is a subtype of acute myeloid leukemia. Shannon and Bill turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for their youngest child’s care.

 

St. Jude patient Griffin (front right) with his family

“We knew about St. Jude,” Shannon said. “But we didn’t really know. From the moment we walked through the doors, they took such good care of us.”

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90%, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

At St. Jude, Griffin’s treatments included chemotherapy. He was the second patient on his protocol, and because his cancer was considered standard risk, rather than receiving three types of chemotherapy, he only received two types.

This ultimately led to Griffin not losing his hair, which is often a side effect for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

 
 

St. Jude patient Griffin with his mother, Shannon

Today, Griffin is out of treatment and visits St. Jude for regular checkups. Griffin and Graham are in first grade, and Griffin is particularly excited about PE and recess.

Griffin is outgoing and loving. He’s full of love and joy.
Shannon, Griffin's mother

 

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