Stories about: Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

Brother’s stem cells send Emma’s leukemia into remission

Emma and her brother, Alexander, following her stem cell transplant.

How do you repay someone who has given you the gift of life? Eight-year-old Emma Duffin of Enfield, Connecticut, started by giving a kiss and cuddle to her brother, Alexander, who donated his bone marrow stem cells to Emma to reboot her immune system and send her rare form of leukemia into remission.

Emma’s journey to a stem cell transplant began in April 2014, when her usual energetic demeanor began to change. “Emma was very vibrant, very active, and she did not like to rest,” says her father, Brian Duffin. But suddenly his go-go daughter was exhausted all the time. She was diagnosed with strep throat, then foot-and-mouth disease, but neither medication nor time brought any improvement.

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Camden’s fight to overcome osteosarcoma inspires his family to give blood

Camden and his family before surgery for osteosarcoma
Camden (in white) with his parents and brothers

Camden Bailey is a fun-loving, smart, 14-year old from Jackson, New Hampshire. An outstanding three-sport athlete, Camden is highly regarded by his coaches and teammates as a natural-born leader.

In January, with only two weeks left in his basketball season, Camden began experiencing pain around his left knee. A dedicated athlete and team player, he planned to power through the pain. It was probably just an issue with a ligament or muscle. He started physical therapy in February and felt it was helping. But at basketball tryouts in March, he hobbled around the court.

Camden’s parents, Jen and Chris, knew something was wrong. They made an appointment with Camden’s pediatrician the next day.

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Innovative treatment for a large liver tumor saves Ziad

Young boy in hospital for liver tumor treatment
Ziad right before his second TACE procedure

Ziad Selbak was a pint-sized patient with a huge medical challenge. In March 2017, the two-year-old was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), an aggressive form of liver cancer rare in young children.

But specialists at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center were ready to take on the challenge. They collaborated on an innovative application of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) — an established treatment for adults — to deliver chemotherapy directly to Ziad’s large tumor and stabilize his condition with the ultimate goal of liver transplant.

It all started in February 2017, when Ziad took a tumble on a toy at his family’s home in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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Madison’s journey with retinoblastoma: ‘Everything will be OK’

Girl with retinoblastoma after surgery to remove eye
Madison in 2018

It was New Year’s Eve, 2011, and Madison Garrett was a seemingly healthy 2 ½-year-old when she suffered a grand mal seizure at home. That night, at their local emergency room, Barbara and Tim Garrett were told that their daughter had instead a mild seizure as a result of a fever. They knew something wasn’t right, because their oldest daughter had experienced seizures.

On top of the seizure, Barbara was beginning to suspect something was wrong with Madison’s eye. Two days later they took her to their local pediatrician, but before they even left his office, Madison had another seizure. A second trip to the ER revealed that Madison had retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer of the eye.

Barbara fainted when she heard the diagnosis.

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