Stories about: Susan Chi

From Cork to Boston: Crossing the Atlantic to treat a brain tumor

By Irene Sege

Alisha, Michelle and John. Photo by Sam Ogden

Even in its most common form, childhood cancer is rare. Imagine then that the reason your 2-year-old daughter is vomiting and can’t hold her head straight is not a virus, as doctors originally suspected, but an incredibly rare brain tumor. This is precisely what John Savage and Michelle Long of Cork, Ireland, faced in November 2012, when their daughter Alisha Savage was diagnosed with Stage IV atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors.

On Jan. 24, 2014, the family arrived in Boston to have Alisha treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “We researched a lot of hospitals in the U.S. We didn’t just jump on a plane. This is our best hope,” John Savage says. “We could be here three months. It could be three years.”

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