Decades after he was the 17th patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ark. State Representative Dwight Tosh (R-Jonesboro) today received a special commemorative pin in recognition that he is the hospital’s first 60-year survivor of pediatric cancer. James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO, presented Tosh with the pin during a special campus visit.
“In the fight against childhood cancer and other deadly illnesses, we honor every advance against the diseases that claim young lives,” said James R. Downing, M.D., president and CEO. “Whether a discovery in the lab or a patient achieving remission, each victory moves us closer to the day when no child dies in the dawn of life. Dwight Tosh’s 60-year milestone of surviving pediatric cancer is especially rewarding. His journey from childhood cancer treatment in 1962 to proud father of two and grandfather of four continues to inspire us.”
In 1962, Tosh was diagnosed with childhood Hodgkin lymphoma as a 13-year-old. At the time, a diagnosis of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer, was assumed to be fatal. In the United States alone, 6,000 to 7,000 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma are diagnosed annually. Today, because of the groundbreaking work at St. Jude, the current cure rate is between 90-95% for children.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities I have had,” Tosh said. “I never want to get so busy that I forget why I’m able to live the life that I’m able to live. If there is anything I can do to prevent some mom or dad from having to say goodbye to their child, then I stand ready to do that.”
In 2007, Tosh became the first patient to enroll in St. Jude LIFE, an unprecedented research effort that studies the health of more than 5,000 St. Jude survivors in an effort to assist the way clinicians understand the late effects of cancer and treatment. The goal of St. Jude LIFE is to improve the quality of life for survivors and inform future advances in treatment.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening disorders. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. To learn more, visit stjude.org, read St. Jude Progress blog, and follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.