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

From patient to employee: Brain tumor survivor gives back

  • PHOTOS: SEBASTIAN STANKIEWICZ/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

People often ask me why I work at Boston Children’s Hospital. How can I walk through the halls of the place where I had emergency surgery at 16 years old for a deadly brain tumor? I honestly don’t know how I couldn’t. I believe in giving back and celebrating the people who support you, as your family does, through the most difficult times of your life. After years of treatment at Boston Children’s, that’s what my doctors, nurses, psychologists and support staff have done for me. Now, they’re like my family.

Read Full Story

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.

Read Full Story

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.

Read Full Story

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.

Read Full Story