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Laura Adcock

The Graduation Gift

Perspective by Cheryl Adcock

Commencement and an exciting future: Brought to you by St. Jude

In 2007, life forever changed when my daughter, Laura Adcock, was diagnosed with a brain tumor called medulloblastoma.

Laura was 19 years old at the time. For at least a year, there had been subtle changes in her personality. Then she developed headaches that came and went. With a history of migraines in the family, I didn’t give it much thought and just tried to help her cope. When Laura began to vomit in the mornings, doctors diagnosed a digestive disorder. Once, when she was talking to me, Laura had a blank expression on her face as if she were unconscious, yet still sitting up.

After witnessing those symptoms, we returned to the doctor. An MRI revealed two tumors: a large one at the base of her brain and one on top of her brain. The larger one needed to be removed immediately.

Not long after Laura’s surgery, I heard from a friend about her experiences at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Scared and not sure of which direction to go, I sent an email to Dr. Amar Gajjar [director of St. Jude Neuro-Oncology and co-leader of the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program]. I included only a few sentences, introducing myself and my daughter’s condition, and the word “help.” He called me on a Saturday night, and we were on a plane by Tuesday.

With Laura’s age and the diagnosis of a childhood tumor, we were thankful that St. Jude was able to treat her. She received chemotherapy and radiation. They organized all of the appointments. They supported us by providing housing, food and travel expenses. Her doctors and nurses were attentive and encouraging. Their attention and care allowed us to focus on fighting this disease. They celebrated her birthdays, honoring her treatment completion with confetti and a party.

We do not know where Laura would be without St. Jude.

Laura has since finished treatment. In May of 2015, she graduated from George Mason University with a BA in English with honors. It is hard to believe that not long ago we were asking for help. That help allowed us to endure some of the toughest times.

Laura is still monitored and checked every year. It is comforting to know that she is still on the St. Jude radar.

St. Jude is a place you hope you never need, but if you do you are thankful that Danny Thomas had a vision, and that his vision lives on. 

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