Stories about: neuroblastoma

Young neuroblastoma patient and family make new home at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s

Bridgette WestBridgette West sparkled last fall in the “Fight Song” music video, created by patients at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. But before the 2-year-old became a social media standout with her dancing, she and her family faced challenges that went far beyond a cancer diagnosis.

In the summer of 2015, after struggling for a year with misdiagnosed illnesses, Bridgette and her parents traveled from their Albany, New York, home to Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. There, tests confirmed she had neuroblastoma, and while Bridgette started treatment, her parents, Roger and Beth, took turns driving 175 miles to take care of Bridgette’s 5-year-old sister Trinity and see other family members back home.

It was a difficult period, as Roger was taking time off from his job, and the family continued to pay rent on an empty Albany apartment, while expenses piled up in Boston.

“That was a hectic, crazy time,” recalls Roger. “Once we realized what we were facing with Bridgette’s cancer — including surgery — we looked around at the incredible people taking care of us here and decided to move and be here all the time.”

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Building a brighter day

Workers from Walsh Brothers Incorporated are keeping very busy building a new tower at Children’s Hospital Boston, but the workload isn’t so fast paced that they can’t take a second or two out of their day to make some kids smile. The crew receives the names of patients whose hospital beds face their construction site and before a beam is attached to the tower’s frame they spray paint a child’s name on it, as well as an encouraging message or two.

To kids facing medical hardships seeing his or her name on the side of a building may not seem like a big deal, but the parents of these kids say it’s a little gesture that goes a long way.

Scheduled for a late 2013 completion, the new building will:

  • provide the Hospital with 20 ‘short stay beds’. (i.e. 23-hour Observation beds)
  • allow the Hospital to better utilize our existing DPH-licensed beds.
  • allow for critical expansions of the Emergency Department.
  • provide an increase in Radiology capacity, additions to Surgical areas and provision of new inpatient support spaces.
  • provide as many as 34 single bed Inpatient rooms to meet future needs for specific subspecialties.

To learn more about how Children’s treats neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs most often in infants and young children, or speak with one of our pediatric oncology experts, please contact the Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center (DF/CHCC).

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Treating childhood cancer: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Kezia Fitzgerald is a new mother. She’s also a recent cancer survivor and mom to a daughter currently battling childhood cancer.

Saoirse and Kezia at Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center

As the parent of a sick child, all you want is for your baby to get better. You focus all of your attention on healing and caring for her needs, and if possible you’d give all of your health to make her feel better. But what happens when the parent is battling just as hard as the child to get healthy?

In January of 2011 our family was hit with the hardest news we thought we could ever receive – I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin Lymphoma. Along with being afraid for my health, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to fully care for my child. I loved my new life as a stay at home mom, and I hated the though of not being able to give 100 percent of myself to my daughter Saoirse as a result of cancer. After weeks of tests and scans, I quickly weaned my 8-month-old baby off breast milk and began chemotherapy. Luckily for me, I had minimal side effects, and with the help of family and friends, Saoirse got all the love and attention that she could have ever wanted.

(check out CNN coverage of the Fitzgerald’s story by visiting their website.)

Pretty soon the word “normal” took on a new meaning in our lives. We got used to our routine of tests and doctor appointments and patiently waited for a time when it would all be done. Always a happy and playful child, Saoirse was becoming more and more independent, which made it easier for me, as I was losing more and more energy.

However, one day in April, our fun loving, happy baby changed completely.

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Giving the gift of life: WBZ-TV shares the story of Charlotte Kelly

Charlotte Kelly is battling neuroblastoma

WBZ-TV yesterday shared the story of Charlotte Kelly, a 3-year-old Children’s patient who is battling stage IV neuroblastoma. The chemotherapy used to treat Charlotte’s cancer destroys the platelets in her blood, so she needs regular transfusions to replace them. Her mother’s colleagues from the Tynan Elementary School in South Boston gave the greatest holiday gift this week when they came to Children’s Blood Donor Center to donate platelets for Charlotte.

As you’re giving gifts this year, don’t forget to give the ones, like blood and platelets, that don’t cost a dime but help kids like Charlotte every day at Children’s and places like it around the world.

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