In January 2016, Azalea’s family learned she had rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer. They traveled from their home in Jamaica to St. Jude. “We were familiar with St. Jude because of their commercials,” said Azalea’s mom, Simone. “We knew St. Jude was the best possible place for a child with cancer, and that’s what we wanted for her.”
At St. Jude, Azalea’s treatment included surgery and chemotherapy. 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. Simone describes Azalea as a social butterfly, a little girl who is always happy. She loves coloring, Frozen and Minnie Mouse. Azalea also loves being a big sister.
Shortly before Azalea was diagnosed with cancer, her parents learned they were expecting their second child, another girl. “St. Jude saved our lives,” Simone said. “They saved our family.” Azalea is finished with treatment and visits St. Jude for checkups.
Brantley is an energetic, playful little boy who likes cars, trucks, superheroes and dinosaurs. “He’s all boy,” said his mom, Chasity. For a year, Brantley suffered from seizures. He was back and forth to the hospital, where doctors worked to determine the cause of the seizures. When scans revealed a spot on his brain, tests showed Brantley had a type of brain tumor called an anaplastic astrocytoma.
Brantley’s parents turned to St. Jude for his treatment, which will include 16 rounds of chemotherapy. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“We had seen commercials for St. Jude, but we really didn’t know what to expect,” Chasity said. “St. Jude provides so much. That allows us to enjoy moments with Brantley instead of worrying about bills. It’s amazing.” Brantley’s dad agrees. “St. Jude means the world to us,” he said. “They’re taking care of our son, and they’re taking care of us.”
Isabelle has always been a straight A student. She will begin sixth grade this fall, and likes art and basketball. “Her heart is kind and sweet,” said her mom, Abi. In early 2016, Isabelle started to complain of leg pain. Months passed and the pain remained. In June, an MRI revealed the cause of Isabelle’s discomfort, a mass on her left calf, identified as a type of bone cancer called Ewing sarcoma. Isabelle’s family left for St. Jude the same day.
Her treatment at St. Jude included 12 weeks of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation therapy. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“I can't even begin to explain how much St. Jude means,” Abi said. “Because of this hospital, and because of everyone here and what they've provided for us, I've been able to just concentrate on taking care of her. They explain everything to me and what I need to do as her caregiver, as her mother.” Isabelle now visits St. Jude for regular checkups.
In January 2015, Jayson was found to suffer from a type of blood cancer. After undergoing nearly two years of treatment in his hometown in Puerto Rico, Jayson’s cancer returned in 2017. That’s when doctors recommended St. Jude for Jayson’s continuing treatment and care.
At St. Jude, Jayson’s treatment plan includes chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. 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.
Jayson’s mom, Leslie, is grateful for the care and support the family has received during their time at St. Jude. “I have only one word to describe St. Jude — blessing,” she said. “Without St. Jude, I don’t know what we would’ve done.” Jayson is a sweet boy who loves to play with his friends.
During the spring of 2016, John started having difficulty breathing and soon developed a constant discharge from his nose. Throughout the summer, his parents, Elizabeth and Justin, would take the young boy to the doctor, but the symptoms wouldn’t disappear. The family ultimately visited an ENT, who ordered a CT scan. That’s when doctors discovered a rare cancerous tumor in John’s nasal canal called mesenchymal chondrosarcoma.
After undergoing surgery to remove most of the tumor, John and his family were referred to St. Jude, where John’s treatment included chemotherapy and proton therapy. “The proton therapy was instrumental to saving his life,” said Elizabeth.
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened 50 years ago. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. John completed treatment in 2017 and now returns to St. Jude for regular checkup appointments. John is a fun, active boy who loves baseball and riding the tractor at his family’s farm.
In June 2013, Kayla began to have headaches. They were so bad she was inconsolable. When an MRI revealed a brain tumor, Kayla’s family sought treatment at St. Jude. “When you walk through the doors of St. Jude, you feel like family,” said Kayla’s mom.
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
At St. Jude, doctors identified Kayla’s tumor as cancerous. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Kayla, who will begin third grade this fall, visits St. Jude for regular scans and checkups. She dances and plays piano and recently discovered a newfound love for gymnastics.
In August 2014, Mabry developed an ear infection that wouldn’t go away. Then, her face swelled. Her pediatrician ran blood work, and within hours, Mabry’s family learned she had a type of blood cancer. At St. Jude, she underwent two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy.
Throughout her treatment, Mabry’s sunny disposition never waned. She often showed up for appointments dressed like a princess with a smile on her face. Mabry recently celebrated the end of her treatment with a No More Chemo party, and she now visits St. Jude for checkups every three months.
“Thanks to St. Jude, we’re ready to watch her grow up and be a strong beautiful woman,” Jenny said. Mabry loves kittens, singing and playing with her little brother.