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Gold Ribbon Hero Gerald C.

Gold Ribbon Hero Gerald C.

Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Gerald is an 8 yr old delight of a boy who is fighting cancer in our town of Jackson, Michigan.
He is a brave super hero of our elementary school!
Please honor him with this gift of recognition through his fight!
From one childhood survivor to another!” – Sara G.

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Gold Ribbon Hero Michele’s Story

Michele’s Story

Gold Ribbon HeroToday, we would like to share the story of Michele, who received her cancer diagnosis in July 2013, only two weeks before her 21st birthday and just a month before beginning her senior year of college. Although treatment for her rare form of cancer may have slowed her down a bit, it didn’t stop her: she graduated from college in 2015, began taking graduate classes part-time, and in April (2016) was accepted to a Master’s program in Social Work. Says her mother,

She continues to keep a positive outlook on life, her goals motivate her and she takes nothing for granted. She is my hero and I’m extremely proud to call her my daughter. She deserves a huge acknowledgement for her perseverance in consistently moving forward even with her medical challenges.

Today, Michele continues both her studies and her ongoing fight against childhood cancer and we are certain that whatever the next months and years hold in store for her, she will meet it with the same courage and determination. Thank you, Michele, for showing us what it really means to be a Gold Ribbon Hero!

The Diagnosis: Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma

Michele’s cancer journey began on July 26, 2013, the day she was diagnosed with a rare type of pediatric cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, or RMS for short. This form of cancer usually starts its growth in the muscles (sarcoma in general forms in any soft tissue, including muscle, tendons, cartilage, fat, or bone). Alveolar RMS in particular usually occurs in the arms, legs, chest, abdomen, or genital organs, and grows more quickly than other forms of RMS. Treatment for alveolar RMS involves intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments; Michele’s oncology team wanted to begin treatments immediately.

Michele, however, was concerned about the potential impact of her cancer treatment on her ability to have a family of her own in the future. Because childhood cancer (by definition) affects children, the child’s future fertility is usually not something that parents are ready to think about, especially when facing the immediate problem of fighting the cancer itself. Yet many types of chemotherapy, as well as radiation, can be extremely harmful to the reproductive system, even for children who have not yet gone through puberty, and in some cases many permanently impact the ability to have children in the future. Because of her age and type of cancer, taking steps to protect her future fertility seemed obvious, so before starting treatment, Michele had fertility shots in order for her eggs to be extracted and frozen.

Her first chemotherapy regime lasted for ten-and-a-half months, and despite her desire to stay in school, the aggressive treatments, coupled with six weeks of daily radiation, forced her to cut back her studies to part-time and postpone her expected graduation. Yet despite not being able to graduate with her classmates in May 2014 as she had originally anticipated, the future seemed bright; the treatments appeared to work and she was declared cancer-free! The celebration, however, was short-lived. Just three months later, scans showed the cancer had returned and metastasized to both lungs. The second regime of chemotherapy lasted another eight-and-a-half months, during which she continued to work part-time through the remaining classes she needed to graduate. In May 2015, Michele graduated with Magna Cun Laude honors and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, with a minor in Women’s Studies!

Unfortunately, the tumors in her lungs did not respond to the second round of treatment. A third round was begun in September 2015 to no avail, and abandoned after only eight weeks. In November, she started a fourth round of chemo, all while taking part-time graduate courses and applying for a Master’s program in Social Work. More radiation and another round of chemotherapy began in January of this year. Yet throughout this entire journey, with its bright spots and set-backs, Michele has remained focused on her twin goals of completing her education and beating cancer: the two weeks of daily radiation and the latest round of chemotherapy have finally begun to shrink the tumors in her lungs, and in April, she was accepted to graduate school to officially begin next year.

We are honored to share Michele’s story of optimism, determination, and courage, and hope that you find it as inspiring as we do!

About the American Childhood Cancer Organization

The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship. Internationally, the ACCO is the sole US member of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest patient-support organization for childhood cancer in the world. Here in the United States, the ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer.  And most importantly, the ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for children fighting cancer and their families, empowering them in their understanding of childhood cancer and the medical decisions they must make during this difficult journey. All of ACCO’s resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer.

 

For additional information on our resources or information on how to obtain our resources free of charge, please visit our website at www.acco.org.

For more information about the American Childhood Cancer Organization and how we can help, call 855.858.2226 or visit:

Want To Read American Childhood Cancer Organization On Your Phone? Click the NoteStream logo: NoteStream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold Ribbon Hero Raylin W.

Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Raylin was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma in December 2015 at 12 months old. She underwent liver resection surgery and started chemo on January 20th 2016. After 4 rounds of chemo she is starting to be a little girl again! She loves life and lives it to the fullest everyday.” – Mallory W.

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Gold Ribbon Hero Jacob H

“Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Jacob was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma in August 2015. He had a tumor in his 8th rib on the left side. He has endured 15 rounds of chemo with surgery after the first 6 rounds. He only has 2 more left. They removed his 8th rib and part of the 7th and 9th. He has spent more time in the hospital than at home due to mouth sores and fevers from the chemo. What makes him a hero is this….after his first chemo, he developed mouth sores and a fever so he was in the hospital and was there on his Golden Birthday. He was 11 on September 11th. But he told me and his dad that he didn’t want gifts for himself for his birthday. He wanted people to donate money to St.Jude. He wanted to do for others even though he was fighting cancer. How awesome is that!? We got the word out to family and friends about what Jacob wanted to do and also his school got involved. He goes to a small Lutheran school who has been an awesome support thru all of this. But Jacob, through his selfless act, raised almost 3 thousand dollars, while in the hospital and donated the money to St. Jude. He is one amazing, strong and loving kid.” – Dawn H

Jacob

Gold Ribbon Hero Charlotte C

“Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Charlotte is fighting relapsed Hepatoblastoma, cancer of the liver. She’s 2. She’s spunky. She’s a smiley little warrior!” – Cari C

 

Cahrlotte

 

Gold Ribbon Hero Charlotte C

“Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Charlotte is fighting relapsed Hepatoblastoma, cancer of the liver. She’s 2. She’s spunky. She’s a smiley little warrior!” – Cari C

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Golden Ribbon Hero Matthew’s Story

Matthew’s Story

Matthew Donald: a baby named for two amazing people in his parents’ lives, both of whom were taken by cancer. And Matthew Donald—“Miracle Matthew”, as his parents and doctors like to call him—is himself a true childhood cancer warrior, having gone through more in four short years than most people see in a lifetime. But Matthew was born a fighter into a family of fighters, showing us through it all the true meaning of courage, spirit, and joy.

Matthew’s cancer journey began even before he was born. Two weeks before his birth, his parents learned that he had fluid in his brain. The tumor was discovered at just four days old, during a surgical procedure to drain the fluid. Doctors removed a portion of the tumor, as well as the fluid, but the diagnosis was stark: Matthew had an aggressive type of brain cancer, a grade 4 neuronal glioma, consuming more than 40% of his brain, most of the right side. Matthew’s parents faced a grim choice: take Matthew home with a hospice team and make him as comfortable as possible or immediately schedule aggressive treatment.


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Neuronal glioma is an extremely rare type of brain cancer, most often diagnosed in adults and appearing in less than five births per year in the United States. Gliomas grow in the connective tissue of the brain that holds the neurons in place and enables them to function. Neuronal glioma is usually fatal in children; in fact, no child has survived more than five or six years after being born with this type of brain cancer. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, not a single drug has been developed and approved specifically for the treatment of malignant pediatric brain tumors. The outlook for Matthew was not good.

Matthew’s parents, however, refused to give up on him. They chose to pursue chemotherapy and surgery to fight the tumor spreading through Matthew’s brain. After the first surgery, Matthew had five additional surgeries and six rounds of chemotherapy. He spent the first 13 months of his life in the hospital. And because of the damage to his brain from the toxic treatment protocols, the surgeries, and the tumor itself, doctors warned Matthew’s parents that even if he lived, he may never walk, talk, hear, or “live a normal life”.

Miracle Matthew

Yet Matthew showed his doctors and his parents that miracles do happen! His tumor responded to the aggressive treatment, and in late 2015, Matthew “graduated” into a survivorship program at the hospital, where he will continue to receive medical treatment and frequent monitoring and testing.

13394126_1158909640862837_4223109359553262398_nToday, Matthew embraces his life with the same courage, spirit, and determination with which he fought cancer. Now 4½ years old, Matthew has begun walking independently; not bad, as his mother notes, for a child who spent the first 18 months of his life confined to bed! He can say a handful of words and continues to build strength in his left side, which was left weakened by the tumor consuming the right hemisphere of his brain. He goes to school where he receives specialized therapy, and sees specialists outside of school three times per week for speech, occupational, and physical therapy.

Still, the tumor and the aggressive treatment have had significant side effects for which Matthew receives constant medical care. He suffers from seizures, a common side effect of any brain surgery, and will likely be on anti-seizure medication for the rest of his life. His hearing has been impacted and he wears hearing aids in both ears. The veins in both of his arms have been severely damaged from so many IV lines and blood tests, making even routine tests and scans problematic. Still, as Matthew’s mother notes, “his happy spirit has never changed!”

Thank you, Miracle Matthew, for showing us what it truly means to be a childhood cancer warrior!

For more information about Matthew and to follow his amazing story, we encourage you to view his family’s YouTube video: http://youtu.be/WZL_7pj4Nvg and visit their Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/Matthew-Donald-Erickson-208905462529931/?fref=ts

 

About the American Childhood Cancer Organization

The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship. Internationally, the ACCO is the sole US member of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest patient-support organization for childhood cancer in the world. Here in the United States, the ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer.  And most importantly, the ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for children fighting cancer and their families, empowering them in their understanding of childhood cancer and the medical decisions they must make during this difficult journey. All of ACCO’s resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer.

For additional information on our resources or information on how to obtain our resources free of charge, please visit our website at www.acco.org.

For more information about the American Childhood Cancer Organization and how we can help, call 855.858.2226 or visit:

Want To Read American Childhood Cancer Organization On Your Phone? Click the NoteStream logo: NoteStream

 

Jel Sert Holds a Corporate-Wide PJammin’® Event for Kids with Cancer!

PJammin’® Event for Kids with Cancer

IMG_4443Today, we would like to express our sincerest thanks to Jel Sert President Ken Wegner and all the employees of Jel Sert, over 200 of whom are currently participating in the first-ever corporate PJammin’® event to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer! During this corporate-wide fundraiser, employees who have chosen to participate can wear their favorite t-shirt and pajama bottoms to work. The top fundraiser in each department will get to drop their supervisor into a dunk tank, while the top overall fundraiser gets to dunk Jel Sert President Ken Wegner. What an amazing way to show support for children with cancer and their families: spending the day in your favorite PJs and working for the chance to dunk your boss! Thank you, Ken Wegner and all your employees, for your help and support; we hope you have fun today!

IMG_4464The funds raised from this event will support the ACCO’s ongoing mission to develop and distribute resources and educational tools designed to empower children and their families during their battle against childhood cancer. From the very first moment a family hears the devastating news that their child has cancer, they are thrown into an entirely new world where they must make numerous critical medical decisions on which the health and wellbeing of their child depends, all while attempting to explain this new world to a scared, hurting child. Our learning resources, available free of charge to families coping with childhood cancer, are designed to empower families by giving them the information and tools they need to navigate this challenging and overwhelming new world. The funds raised today also support the ACCO’s advocacy missions here and abroad to fight for improved funding of and access to new and better treatments designed specifically for childhood cancer.

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ACCO and Jel Sert: An Ongoing Partnership

We would also like to thank Ken Wegner and Jel Sert for its ongoing and heartfelt support for children with cancer, as well as for the ACCO and its mission. Jel Sert has been a dedicated supporter of the childhood cancer community for many years now. Through its Take a Pop, Share a Smile program, Jel Sert donates freezers and frozen Fla-Vor-Ice treats to pediatric oncology hospitals around the country. For children undergoing treatment for cancer, these pops are more than simply a fun treat; they can play a critical role in easing the pain of mouth sores, keeping children hydrated, and alleviating many other negative side effects of cancer treatment. Since 2008, Jel Sert has donated freezers to 115 hospitals, and more than one million pops! Jel Sert also displays the gold ribbon, the internationally-recognized awareness symbol for childhood cancer, on Fla-Vor-Ice freezer pops, Otter Pops, Pop-Ice, and other Jel Sert products.

JelSert-logoNow, Jel Sert has once again shown its dedication to the childhood cancer community by becoming the first corporation to hold a large-scale PJammin’ ®fundraiser! PJammin’® events are a fun, memorable way to raise awareness about childhood cancer and what it means in the day-to-day life of a child. Originally created as a way for families to build awareness of childhood cancer in their child’s school, organizers of PJammin’® events invite participants to wear their pajamas during the day, just as a child undergoing treatment for cancer often spends days, even weeks, in a hospital wearing pjs or hospital gowns. Today, Jel Sert has shown us that PJammin’®, Go Gold®, and other fundraising and awareness events need not be limited to schools, but can be a great way for organizations and corporations to build team spirit, improve community outreach, and even have some fun, all while helping children with cancer and their families!

If you are interested in hosting a PJammin’®, Go Gold®, or other creative fundraising event in your business, school, or community, we encourage you to contact us today for more information!

About the American Childhood Cancer Organization

The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship. Internationally, the ACCO is the sole US member of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest patient-support organization for childhood cancer in the world. Here in the United States, the ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer.  And most importantly, the ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for children fighting cancer and their families, empowering them in their understanding of childhood cancer and the medical decisions they must make during this difficult journey. All of ACCO’s resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer 

For additional information on our resources or information on how to obtain our resources free of charge, please visit our website at www.acco.org.

For more information about the American Childhood Cancer Organization and how we can help, call 855.858.2226 or visit:

Want To Read American Childhood Cancer Organization On Your Phone? Click the NoteStream logo: NoteStream

 

 

Gold Ribbon Hero Michele B

Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: On July 26, 2013, my daughter Michele Broadley was diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). Her diagnosis was  two weeks before her 21st birthday. She was entering her senior year of college at the University of Connecticut at this time. Within one month of her diagnosis, she had fertility shots, her eggs extracted and frozen in case of infertility, had an IV port surgically placed and started the first chemotherapy regimen. She also had 6 weeks of daily radiation during her chemo treatments. This first chemo regimen was for a duration of 10.5 months and she lost all of her hair for the first time. Michele had to decrease her college credit hours to part-time and postpone her college graduation from May 2014 to May 2015. She would not let the cancer stop her from achieving her goals or bring her down. In May 2014, she was deemed cancer-free and her IV Port was surgically removed. In September 2014, the celebrations were short lived when her 3 month scans showed metastasis to both of her lungs. She then had a right lung resection surgery to remove one of the lung nodules for tumor testing. It was tested and it was the RMS that had spread to her lungs. She then needed another IV Port surgically placed & she immediately started her second chemotherapy regimen for the duration of 8.5 months. All the while she stayed on track to graduate from UCONN with her Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Minor in Women’s Studies. In May 2015, she graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from UCONN. This was a huge accomplishment all the while continuing with the chemo treatments until July 2015. When this second chemo regimen was completed, there were still tumors in her lungs. In September 2015, she started the third chemotherapy regimen and after 8 weeks it did not work. That was discontinued and the fourth chemo regimen was started in November of 2015. After 8 weeks, the fourth chemo also did not work & Michele lost her hair for the second time in two years. In the fall of 2015, she started part-time non-matriculated graduate courses while waiting for her acceptance to the Masters in Social Work Graduate Studies Program at Southern Connecticut State University. In January 2016, she had two weeks of daily radiation to her right lung & after that was completed she started the fifth chemo regimen, which is actually working to shrink the lung tumors. She’s continuing the fifth chemo and having a PET Scan next month. In April 2016, she was officially accepted into the Graduate Studies Program at SCSU. She continues to keep a positive outlook on life, her goals motivate her and she takes nothing for granted. She is my hero and I’m extremely proud to call her my daughter. She deserves a huge acknowledgement for her perseverance in consistently moving forward even with her medical challenges. She is my gold ribbon hero. I love her with all my heart.” – Valeria B

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Gold Ribbon Hero Xena R

Reason this person is a Gold Ribbon Hero: Xena The Warrior Princess was diagnosed with AT/RT in January of 2015. She had a total resection of the tumor of the cerebellum of her brain on January the 15th. She went under many test to prepare her for what was ahead. She began her first round of chemotherapy on February 11th. She experienced an allergic reaction to one of the chemotherapy medications but she did not let this get her down. She pushed through and completed the second round of  chemotherapy. She began proton beam radiation on April 13 and had twenty seven rounds ending on May 20th. She breezed through. She then under went many test to prepare  for last but most three aggressive rounds of chemotherapy. She was admitted on June the eleventh had chemo on the twelfth and thirteenth . Rest day on the fourteenth. On the fourteenth she will be receiving a stem cell infusion. After this she has two rounds exactly the same left. Through this all she has remained strong, cheerful and never let anything her her down. She has taught me how to remain strong.” – Danielle W

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