Health Care and Nonprofits

7-year-old patient fundraises for pediatric cancer research

June 6, 2014
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7-year-old patient fundraises for pediatric cancer research
Brooke Hester, right, and Dr. Giselle Shollerpose with the 7,777.77 check from the 7-year-old’s foundation for pediatric cancer research at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Photo via fb.com

A birthday wish came true this week for a 7-year-old cancer patient.

Foundation of hope

Brooke Hester signed a $7,777.77 check from her foundation, Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer, to support pediatric research and clinical trials at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.

As her seventh birthday wish, Hester wanted to donate funds to support the clinical trials conducted by Dr. Giselle Sholler, pediatric hematology and oncology specialist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

A resident of Corpus Christi, Texas, Hester travels to Grand Rapids to participate in Dr. Sholler’s clinical trials after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer in 2010.

Brooke’s Blossoming Hope foundation provides hand-crafted headwear with blossoms, bows and feathers for children with cancer, while also raising pediatric cancer awareness.

Hester raised the funds in roughly a week and was able to present the donation to Dr. Sholler, said Devin Pierson, development coordinator, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Her donation was then matched by Meg Miller Willit, a board member of the hospital’s foundation.

Collaborative research

Pierson said the donation to the pediatric clinical trials will allow Dr. Sholler to continue pediatric research to identify new treatment methods.

“It means that Dr. Sholler’s research continues to be funded, and she is able to continue the clinical trials she is doing with these patients,” Pierson said. “Once relapsed, there is no cure, and she is trying to prevent relapse in children with neuroblastoma. She is doing personalized medicine.”

The clinical trials conducted at the hospital are part of a group effort by 18 universities and children’s hospitals nationwide.

The Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium uses collaborative research to develop novel therapies for children diagnosed with neuroblastoma or medulloblastoma cancer.

Funding

Pierson added that pediatric oncology is underfunded and many different family foundations are raising money specifically for the consortium to continue research to find new therapies.

“People are really trying to spread the awareness about it,” Pierson said. “Chemotherapy is so hard on a little child’s body. They are not the same as an adult, and yet, they are being treated the same.” 

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