Alexander had just been awarded the Integrity and Friendship Award for his first-grade class when his life was upended by a diagnosis of medulloblastoma in November 2017.
After a successful tumor removal surgery at another hospital, Alexander’s family obtained a referral St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for further treatment that included proton therapy and chemotherapy.
“We are blessed beyond measure to be part of the St. Jude family,” said his mom.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas 2017, Maverick was not himself. Shortly after New Year’s, his family learned he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Now, resilient Maverick is nearing the end of two and a half years of chemotherapy.
Maverick’s parents had been giving to St. Jude for years. But, said Maverick’s mom, “Until you’re here, you don’t realize the magnitude of what this place really can do for your family.”
When Bella was a year old, she began to experience neck pain and stiffness, and she kept her neck tilted to one side. An MRI at a hospital near the family’s home in India revealed a mass on Bella’s brain. Devastated, her parents turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, full of fear for their daughter’s future. Shortly after arriving at St. Jude, doctors determined the tumor was an anaplastic ependymoma.
Bella’s treatment included chemotherapy and proton therapy.
“At St. Jude, they are not just thinking of your child’s treatment, they are thinking about what families go through,” said Amit, Bella’s dad. “St. Jude has thought about the issues families face, and you don’t have to worry about anything, you just focus on your child.” Bella is now finished with treatment.
For several weeks, Sascha had complained about headaches, but it was the start of a new school year, so it was easy to chalk it up to stress and adjusting to a new routine. When Sascha began having double-vision, her parents took her to the doctor, where they learned she had a cancerous brain tumor called a medulloblastoma.
After surgery to remove the tumor, Sascha was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“We knew St. Jude was truly the best place for Sascha to receive treatment,” said her dad.
Sascha’s treatment included proton therapy and chemotherapy. She also received physical therapy, including yoga, as part of her treatment. Sascha now visits St. Jude for regular checkups. She loves unicorns and making arts and crafts.
In February 2018, Abraham’s right eye turned inward. He also started having headaches in the morning and would sometimes throw up. Even watching TV made the little boy’s head hurt.
A CT scan finally revealed the cause of Abraham’s issues: He had a mass on his brain, identified as a cancerous brain tumor called a medulloblastoma.
“It was just terrifying,” said his mom. “It broke my heart and made me so scared for him.” At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Abraham’s treatment included high-dose radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Abraham, who is finished with treatment, returns to St. Jude for regular checkups. He loves playing outside and coloring with his dad. “We’re just so thankful for St. Jude,” his mom said.
When Quincy couldn’t shake his stomach trouble, his pediatrician had a feeling something more than a virus might be the cause.
Scans showed Quincy had a tumor on his right kidney – a type of cancer called Wilms tumor. He was referred immediately to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for treatment.
“It’s definitely a whole other world inside these doors,” said Quincy’s mom. “You get a sense that everybody is here fighting the same fight. Everybody has the same goal, and everybody wants the best for the kids.”
Quincy’s treatment included surgery to remove the affected kidney and chemotherapy. He had his last dose of chemotherapy in August 2018 and now visits St. Jude for checkups. Quincy is a wildly imaginative, smart and caring boy.
In his home country of Mexico, the treatment would have been to remove both of Mikey’s eyes, but doctors were able to give his family hope for his vision. Mikey’s family discovered St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital online, obtained a referral and made plans to travel to Memphis, Tennessee, for his treatment.
Mikey’s mom, Liliana, didn’t know much about St. Jude before their arrival and was worried about money as she would be away from work during his lengthy treatment.
Thanks to St. Jude, after his treatment Mikey and his mom were able to go back home, and his family returned to St. Jude for checkups.
Unfortunately, his cancer has returned, but St. Jude continues to give Mikey the best possible care.
His treatment will include chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant. His mom Liliana knows that St. Jude will once again do their best for Mikey.
Shortly after Major was born, tests revealed he suffered from sickle cell disease, which is a group of inherited blood disorders that prevent the normal flow of blood in the body.
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Major's treatment includes hydroxyurea.
Major's family was already familiar with St. Jude, as two of his older siblings also have sickle cell disease and are St. Jude patients. “I’m so thankful for St. Jude,” said the children’s mom, Demetrius.
“The doctors and nurses are so helpful, and everyone treats us like family.” Major is a mischievous, cheerful boy who loves Paw Patrol.
When Raeleigh was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, her family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Raeleigh’ s treatment will include two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy and so far, she is handling it like a champ. “She's basically your normal child,” said her mom, “no side effects, no nausea, no throwing up.” Raeleigh, who loves clothes and dressing up, is described by her parents as smart, independent and bossy.
At St. Jude, her favorite thing is playing in the playrooms. Her parents love the environment and how caring everyone is. “They go a step beyond to make sure you’re comfortable and that Raeleigh is doing well,” said her mom.
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.