In June 2017, Tammy’s parents, Tien and Alice, learned their son had a cancerous brain tumor called an anaplastic ependymoma. After Tammy underwent surgery to resect the tumor, his parents turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his treatment. Tien, Tammy and little sister Jasmine relocated temporarily to St. Jude, while Alice remained at home to work and care for their then 3-month-old daughter, Lilian.
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 more than 90%, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
At St. Jude, Tammy’s treatment will include 33 rounds of proton therapy and four rounds of chemotherapy. Remarkably, at his young age, Tammy has gone through most of his proton therapy treatments without sedation. His St. Jude Child Life specialists saw this potential in him and worked with him to make it a reality.
“That time was tumultuous, like a storm,” Tien says. “But beautiful, too, to see Tammy bounce back after surgery. It brought a big perspective change in my life. Every day that we get is a blessing, and this is all more than I prayed for. Receiving all these blessings, the treatment at St. Jude and everything they offer us — my wife and I finally got the relief we were looking for.”
Tien describes Tammy as a brave, curious and inquisitive boy. Tammy loves going to the zoo, where he likes to visit the camels and monkeys. He also likes to do arts and crafts.
St. Jude patient Tammy with his sister and cousins