Giving Kids with Cancer a Fighting Chance

Meet Daisy. Daisy is proof that the money RMVR raises at the Race Against Kids’ Cancer benefiting the Morgan Adams Foundation truly matters!

Daisy is a beautiful, super sweet little girl that has had to endure more pain and suffering in her young life than any person should. But thanks to critical research funded in part by RMVR’s annual Race Against Kids’ Cancer and The Morgan Adams Foundation, Daisy is now in remission and attending classes. Here’s Daisy’s story.

Daisy was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma brain tumor in the spring of 2013 when she was just six years old. Upon her initial diagnosis, Daisy was treated conventionally at Children’s Hospital Colorado using radiation and chemotherapy. She finished treatment in March 2014 and was cancer-free until a routine MRI on September 16, 2015 indicated that the cancer had returned in her brain and had metastasized (spread) to her spine as well.

Medulloblastoma is a type of fast-growing, high-grade tumor that occurs in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and motor skills. Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant childhood brain tumor in children under age 16 and accounts for about 20% of all pediatric brain tumor diagnoses. Symptoms of Medulloblastoma can include: behavioral changes, lack of appetite, headache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, problems with coordination and balance, and unusual eye movements. Survival rates for Medulloblastoma patients are varied: if the tumor is average-risk and the disease has not spread, survival rates are 70-80%; however, if the disease has spread to the spinal cord, the survival rate is about 60%.

Daisy underwent surgery and had two large tumors in the base of her spine removed, along with some bone from near her spine and coccyx. There were also many small tumors scattered throughout her brain that were too small to operate on or remove. After surgery, Daisy was treated with re-radiation and two chemotherapy drugs. The chemo drugs used were specifically selected for Daisy after completing genetic sequencing of Daisy’s tumor and comparing the expression of her genes with hundreds of other patients’ pediatric brain tumors that were sequenced at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Daisy fought back, and after a month of chemo and radiation, the tumors were gone. As of October 2016, Daisy shows no evidence of disease. Unfortunately, Daisy’s surgery and treatments resulted in hearing loss, nerve damage, and paralyzed facial muscles that prevent her from being able to smile. Daisy, now 10, started school at Children’s Hospital Colorado in October where she attends class 5 days a week with nine other students ranging from first to sixth grade.

Daisy is proof that the money RMVR raises at the Race Against Kids’ Cancer benefiting the Morgan Adams Foundation matters! It was MAF funded research that contributed to the creation of Daisy’s treatment protocol. MAF has also been the primary funding resource for the genetic sequencing of pediatric brain tumor samples at CHC/CU Anschutz, which is one of the largest collections of samples in the world.

Because of your continued support of MAF, kids like Daisy have a fighting chance. But there is more to do to improve the quality of life and reduce the impact these treatments have on our kids. In 2017, let’s Knock-Out pediatric cancer!

Best wishes for a wonderful and blessed holiday season.