Humans of New York shares pediatric cancer fight stories

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Humans of New York Moving Pediatric Cancer Fight


The creator of Humans of New York is using his platform to raise funds to help kids with cancer.

Brandon Stanton launched the incredibly popular project, where he tells stories of the people in Manhattan through portraits and interviews, with a blog in 2010.

Humans of New York then moved to social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, with Stanton eventually landing a book deal for what would become a bestseller.

Now Stanton is kicking off a pediatric cancer series, beginning with "Gabe's Story." Gabe, the son of Albanian immigrants, is a patient at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Read heartbreaking stories from the series:

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Humans of New York shares pediatric cancer fight stories
(2/5) “One of Max’s eyes started crossing over when he turned six years old. But I wasn’t too worried. He’d been such a healthy kid. I thought maybe he was developing a bit of a lazy eye. But the doctor started getting really uncomfortable during our appointment. He scheduled an MRI for the next day, and he told me: ‘Let’s not be too worried. I’m going to sleep well tonight.’ It was such a weird thing to say. Right? I had been completely relaxed until he said that. We got the MRI early the next morning, and I went to work. The results came in a few hours later. They called me while I was walking down the street. I just collapsed on the sidewalk.” ------------------------------------------------- This is the last day of our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We’ve raised over $2 million so far. Funding is scarce in pediatric cancer, and largely relies on private donations. So this money will have a giant impact. These donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. So even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(3/5) "There was a tumor in his brain. The doctor told us that he knew what it was. He said it was called DIPG and that he hadn’t found anything that worked. He said it would eventually kill him. And I started screaming. And I asked how long. And he told us a year. He told us that ‘doing nothing’ was an acceptable choice. And he said, ‘This will be harder on you than it is on Max.’ And I remember looking at Max. And he was so beautiful. All he had was that crossed eye. Our life had been beautiful and now everything sucked. I didn’t know what to do. So we went to the Lego store. He was obsessed with Legos. That night he got so many Legos.” ---------------------------------------------- Today is the last day of our fundraiser to aid Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Nearly 60,000 people have donated and we’ve raised over $2.2 million so far. Max’s tumor is the same tumor that Dr. Souweidane is working on curing. (See previous story). I promised Julie that all money raised during the telling of her story would be given to Dr. Souweidane and his colleagues to aid in the fight against DIPG. The gift will be given in Max’s honor. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(4/5) “I think I have post traumatic stress. I have so many horrible flashbacks. Two weeks after Max was diagnosed, he asked me if I’d be his Mommy forever. I said, ‘Of course I will.’ And he asked: ‘Even when I’m ninety?’ And I told him ‘yes.’ What was I supposed to say? And there were all the times he talked to me about the future. We’d talk about college. I just couldn’t tell him. God I was such a coward. I should have told him. I just couldn’t do it. Even toward the end. The day before he lost consciousness, I read his favorite book to him. It’s called Runaway Bunny. And the little bunny keeps threatening to run away. And the Mama bunny keeps saying: ‘Wherever you go, I will find you.’ Oh God, it was such a horrible way to die. He couldn’t speak or move or swallow or see. He basically starved to death. And the whole last week I’m whispering in his ear: ‘Let go, let go. Please Max, let go.’ My seven-year-old son. I’m telling him to let go. I mean, fuck. That’s not supposed to happen! And the whole time I never told him he was dying. I was such a coward. But he knew. He knew without me telling him. Because a couple weeks before he lost his speech, he asked me: ‘Mommy, do they speak English where I’m going?’” --------------------------------------------------------Today is the last day of our fundraiser to aid Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Over 65,000 people have donated and we’ve raised over $2.3 million so far. Max’s tumor is the same tumor that Dr. Souweidane is working on curing. (See previous story). In fact, Max was supposed to be part of Dr. Souweidane’s first clinical trial but he passed away too soon. I promised Julie that all money raised during the telling of Max’s story would be given to Dr. Souwedaine and his colleagues to aid in their DIPG research. The gift will be given in Max’s honor. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(5/5) “I used to be a really happy person. I really was. I was the person who would walk outside and say: ‘Isn’t everything beautiful? Isn’t life wonderful? Aren’t we so lucky?’ I don’t have that sense of joy anymore. I remember the Mother’s Day before Max was diagnosed. It was four years ago. We were in this same park. On the lawn over there. It was beautiful. All three of us were there. Irene and I were in love. And Max was lying on my feet and pretending to fly in the air. And he was laughing so hard and I remember feeling so happy and full of life. It was the last moment that I truly felt joy.” ------------------------------------------------------- Today is the last day of our fundraiser to aid Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Over 70,000 people have donated and with over $2.6 million has been raised so far. Max’s tumor is the same tumor that Dr. Souweidane is working on curing. (See previous story). In fact, Max was supposed to be part of Dr. Souweidane’s first clinical trial but he passed away too soon. I promised Julie that all money raised during the telling of Max’s story would be given to Dr. Souwedaine and his colleagues to aid in their DIPG research. The gift will be given in Max’s honor. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
“The absolute best thing in the world that can happen to me is telling a parent that their child’s tumor is benign. I live for those moments. And the worst thing that can happen to me is telling a parent that I’ve lost their kid. It’s only happened to me five times in thirty years. And I’ve wanted to kill myself every single time. Those parents trusted me with their child. It’s a sacred trust and the ultimate responsibility is always mine. I lose sleep for days. I second-guess every decision I made. And every time I lose a child, I tell the parents: ‘I’d rather be dead than her.’ And I mean it. But I go to church every single day. And I think that I’m going to see those kids in a better place. And I’m going to tell them that I’m sorry. And hopefully they’ll say, ‘Forget it. Come on in.’” ----------------------------------------------------------- As we learn these stories, we are trying to raise $1,000,000 to help the team @sloankettering in their fight against pediatric cancer. Thanks to the 17,000 people who have contributed so far. We're over 60% of the way there. Please consider donating. Link in bio.
(1/7) “This was the bench we sat on the night that Avi had his biopsy. He had been making weird breathing sounds. The pediatrician sent us here because she saw something on his X-ray. Avi was eleven at the time. I didn’t want him to feel scared so I told him it was just a silly little test, and we’d be going home soon. I walked with my back against the wall to hide all the signs that said ‘cancer.’ They took Avi in the back and we waited on this bench for a long time. It was Friday night and the place was empty. It started getting late. It was taking too long. When the doctors finally came back they looked very scared. The doctor told us, ‘We’re having a difficult time keeping his airway open.’ I was so confused. This was just supposed to be a test. I asked him: ‘What do you mean?’ He said: ‘Avi could die.’ He kept repeating it: ‘Avi could die.’ Then he said: ‘It’s time to pray.’”
(2/7) “They finally got Avi breathing through a tube. The anesthesiologist cried when she saw him alive again. She said it was the scariest moment of her career. That night we parked our car in a 24-hour garage. We didn’t move it for five weeks. We slept head-to-toe on the bench in his room. I stared at those monitors non-stop. They told us Avi had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The tumor was too big to remove so he began 25 months of chemo. Everything went wrong. Complication after complication. The ‘worst case scenario’ happened so many times that we began to expect it. He had over thirty surgeries. They completely removed his esophagus. He couldn’t eat for nineteen months. And he couldn’t talk for seven months-- not a whisper.”
(3/7) “I can’t tell you why this happened to my son. He was so healthy. He was at the top of his class. He was a great athlete. I used to watch him play sports and think: ‘I can’t believe this is my son!’ And he was so nice to the other children. Other parents would send us letters and gifts because Avi was so kind. He’s just so good. But they all are. You look around this place, and you don’t see any serial killers. These are all good people. These are not the people screaming at their kids in Target. One day during chemo, when his hair started to fall out, Avi turned to me and said: ‘I think I know why this is happening. I made fun of somebody at school one time.’ And that just broke my heart. I can’t describe what it felt like to watch him suffer. It was torture. I used to lay with him in bed at night and wish so bad that it could be me instead. I’d do anything to switch places with him. One night when he was really hurting, he told me: ‘You can’t understand what I’m going through, Dad.’ And I told him, ‘Trust me Avi. I can.’”
(4/7) “Mark is such a good man. He’s the most dedicated father and husband you can imagine. He never spends money on himself. He never thinks of himself. He only cares about what the family needs. He helped start an organization that raises money for widows. He worked so hard on it. He went from synagogue to synagogue, asking for money. Yet he still thinks that all of this is his fault. He thinks that I’m pretty much perfect, and Avi is pretty much perfect, so it must be his fault. He couldn’t sleep for months after the diagnosis. He would be up for all hours. He spoke to so many rabbis and mental health professionals. He gave away all his possessions. He’d always tell me: ‘I know I’ve done something wrong. We’re being punished for something I did. And I don’t know what it is. But I’m so, so sorry.’"
(5/7) “This is our last day of treatment.” -----------------------------------------------------------As we learn these stories, we are trying to raise $1,000,000 to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. They’ve helped save Avi’s life along with thousands of other children, and we’re to help empower them to save even more. We’re almost at our goal. Thanks to the 20,000 people who have donated so far. If you haven’t already, please consider being counted. Link in bio.
(6/7) “Whenever I saw my parents sad, it always made me a little more nervous. Like when I asked my mom how long it would be until I could eat again. And I said: ‘Ten years?’ And she shook her head and said, ‘Not that long.’ Then I said, ‘Five years?’ And she started crying. I do feel sorry for them. They are the best parents in the world and it’s very hard for them. You know, me not being quite who I used to be. I don’t have my full voice back. I haven’t done much physical activity in the last two years. They were always very proud of me. I think they’re still proud of me now but for different reasons. A lot of adults tell me that I’m more mature than a lot of eighteen year olds. Because I know that life isn’t just happy times, and now I know how to handle it.” ---------------------------------------------------- You can follow our man Avi here: @_super_avi. As we learn these stories, we’re trying to raise $1,000,000 to help the team at @sloankettering in their fight against pediatric cancer. They’ve helped save Avi’s life along with thousands of other children, and we’re trying to help empower them to save even more. We’re almost at our goal. Thanks to the 20,000 people who have donated so far. If a few thousand more people donate, we’ll get there. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider being counted. Link in bio.
(7/7) “I’ve thought about what I would say if I could go back in time, and talk to myself before I got cancer. I’d say get ready to not be who you are right now. And get ready to deal with a lot of disappointments and pain. And just keep strong. And never give up. And don’t lock yourself in your room if you get sad or angry. Because nobody can help you if you’re in your room and the problem will get worse. And stop fighting with your brothers and sisters. Because you’re really going to need them soon and they are going to help you so much. And keep watching sports. Because those are really going to cheer you up.” ----------------------------------------------------------You can follow our man Avi here: @_super_avi. We’re just $200,000 away from our goal of $1,000,000 to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. @sloankettering helped save Avi’s life along with thousands of other children, and we’re trying to help empower them to save even more. We’re almost there. Please help push us over the top. Link in bio.
“The caretakers play a crucial role, but there’s no way to predict how a parent will react to this. Sometimes they are the best helpers. They come in wanting to win. They say, ‘We’re going to beat the crap out of this thing.’ And that positive attitude flows down to the child. ‘I can’ becomes ‘we can.’ But sometimes the parents give up before treatment begins. You see it in their eyes. The battle is lost before we start. They say ‘I can’t,’ and that becomes ‘we can’t.’ The child becomes defeated and that hurts us. Because the child is the captain of this team and we need our captain to be strong. But I’m not judging these parents. They are experiencing the toughest thing a human can go through. On a scale of zero to death, this experience is right next to death. So it’s not fair to judge a person’s response. And there’s very little we can do about it. It’s almost impossible to change someone’s attitude. Because there’s never one reason that a person feels defeated. There are twenty or thirty reasons. People bring their entire lives with them into this hospital. We can provide encouragement. We can say, ‘Things will get better soon.’ But we can’t change someone’s entire life.” ---------------------------------------------------- ---We’re almost 90% of the way toward our goal of $1,000,000 to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. MSK handles some of the toughest cases of childhood cancer, and our donations will go toward the development of specialized treatments to give these kids a chance. Thanks so much to everyone who’s donated so far. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider contributing. Link in bio.
“It’s been twelve hours a day, six days a week, for the last thirty years. My goal during all these years was to help all I could help. I’ve given 200%. I’ve given transplants to over 1200 kids. I’ve published as many papers as I could. I’ve contributed to some major achievements here. I feel happy because I've done my part. But now I’m almost finished. It’s time for the young people out there to finish the job. They’re going to be smarter than us. They’ll know more. They’re going to unzip the DNA and find the typo. They’re going to invent targeted therapies so we don’t have to use all this radiation. Me? My goal for the remainder of my life is to not be useful. I want to learn Portuguese. I want to play the guitar. I want to eat, drink, and enjoy the company of my friends. I recognize these are selfish things. But at some point we must treat ourselves as well.” ---------------------------------------------- ----------We’re 95% of the way toward our goal of $1,000,000 to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Our donations will go toward the development of specialized treatments to give kids with rare tumors a chance at life. Thanks so much to everyone who’s donated so far. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider contributing. Link in bio.
“We’re doing fine. We see a lot of psychologists in the hospital. They ask a lot of questions. They’re looking for problems. They think we’re hiding something from them. It’s a nice conversation but there’s nothing to find. Maybe it’s because we’re simple minds and we don’t think too deeply about things. We’re treating this like a normal event. A lot of people have it worse than us. We have access to the best care in the world. Our only problem is boredom. We should be thankful. The cancer is gone now. If it comes back, it comes back. But why worry about something that hasn’t happened yet?”
“Twelve thousand kids per year get cancer in the United States. But the extraordinary thing isn’t that cancer happens. The extraordinary thing is that cancer doesn’t happen more often. Every human life begins with a single cell. Trillions of cells will form from that single cell. During this process, the DNA will rearrange itself hundreds of times to form all different types of cells: muscle, nerve, bone, blood, connective tissue. If you look at these cells under a microscope, each one has special properties. They all have codes that tell them exactly what to do and exactly when to stop doing it. The complexity of this is extraordinary. There are numerous fail-safes at every level to prevent mistakes. How is it possible that it ever works correctly? There are trillions of chances for something to go wrong. God, it’s unbelievable. The longer I study cancer, the more I’m in awe of the healthy child.” --------------------------------------------------------- Thanks to the 27,000 people who donated, last night we reached our goal of $1,000,000 to help Dr. O’Reilly and his team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center fight pediatric cancer. (A special thanks to the anonymous $14,000 donor who put us over the top in dramatic fashion.) We’ll try to add to that total in the remaining few days to make the largest impact possible. Thanks to everyone who’s engaged with this series. I have received so many notes from the patients and doctors interviewed. They have been so moved and encouraged by your comments. I assure you that every single comment is being read. I know that many of the patient stories have been extremely difficult to read, so thanks to all of you who have helped bear the weight of these stories. Cancer is extremely isolating and there is great value in every type of human connection. So thank you. Anyone still wishing to contribute to our fundraiser, link in bio.
“Cancer engenders immediate fear. I think that deep in our soul, we don’t want to admit to the possibility that we might have it too. So when someone else gets cancer, we turn that person into an ‘other.’ If that person is ‘other than us,’ then maybe it won’t happen to us. For the past thirty years, I’ve done everything I can to keep children from feeling like an ‘other.’ Yes, this child has cancer. But this child is a normal kid. Alongside their illness, they are dealing with demons that the average adult has never faced. So not only must we heal them, we must also never let them feel ‘less good’ or ‘less worthwhile.’ Because if we disrupt their ability to relate to the world, then the cancer will define the rest of their life.” ----------------------------------------------------------Over the past eight days, we’ve raised over one million dollars to help Dr. O’Reilly and his team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center fight pediatric cancer. While most of the money will go to crucial research, one-third of the funds will go toward providing the psychosocial services that treat the ‘whole child.’ If you haven’t already, please consider donating. Link in bio.
“Her tumor was the size of a grapefruit. I don’t even know how it fit in her body. There’s no protocol for neuroblastoma. Everything is experimental. Different doctors have different opinions, so I have to make choices that you couldn’t imagine. Horrible choices. She’s had several rounds of chemo, antibody therapy, a stem cell transplant, and a twelve-hour surgery. The surgery was risky. One doctor tried to talk me out of it. I don’t understand this stuff but I still have to make these decisions. I think I’ve made all the right choices so far but the next one could be the wrong one. It’s so stressful. You know that feeling you have when you’re waiting for a call back from a job interview? That’s all the time for me. Except it’s not a job. It’s my kid’s life. I push all the emotional stuff to the back burner. I feel like the only way to keep moving is to stay numb. My only therapy is talking to the other moms here. We’re all going through the same thing. So that helps. But then again we lose a lot of our friends here. Her best friend’s cancer just spread to the brain. So that’s scary as shit.” --------------------------------------------------------Just a few days left in our fundraiser to help Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center fight pediatric cancer. Nearly 28,000 people have donated so far and we’ve raised over $1,000,000. This money will be used to help develop innovative treatments for the rare childhood cancers that MSK helps fight. If you’ve been inspired by the stories of these patients, doctors, and nurses, please consider being counted in our effort to support them. Link in bio.
“Nobody ever tells each other the truth around here. It’s not to say that anyone is lying. Everyone just hides what they're really thinking. Mommy doesn’t want the child to feel sad. The child doesn’t want Mommy to feel sad. So everyone wears a mask. Everyone is doing ‘just fine.’ Everyone is ‘feeling OK.’ Everyone is so excited about going to see the ball game or spending a day in the park. I think the only people who really see the truth around here are the night nurses. In the middle of the night, nobody is depending on you to be someone else. There’s no more distractions or visitors or physicians. It’s just you, your medication, and time.” --------------------------------------------------------Just a few days left in our fundraiser to help Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center fight pediatric cancer. Over 28,000 people have donated so far and we’ve raised over $1,000,000. This money will be used to help develop innovative treatments for the rare childhood cancers that MSK helps fight. If you’ve been inspired by the stories of these patients, doctors, and nurses, please consider being counted in our effort to support them. Link in bio.
“It was one of the most despicable things I’ve seen in my career. It was ten years ago. There were about twenty families being treated here whose kids had Neuroblastoma. The survival rate was about ten percent. One of our doctors developed an antibody that he thought was promising. But he’d run out of money. So he called a town hall meeting of sorts. He brought all the families together and told them he needed two million dollars. And they told him: ‘We’ll find it.’ We refer to them now as the Band of Parents. These people were desperate. Many of them were broke. And this burden was being placed on them. It made me sick. But they went back to their communities. They baked cookies, and organized bike rides, and held fundraisers named after their children. And they raised the money. All two million. And it worked. Dr. Cheung’s antibody worked. Today the survival rate is sixty percent. But it was so sad. Because deep in their hearts those parents knew the antibody would not be ready in time to save their child. But they raised the money anyway.” --------------------------------------------------------Small amounts of money can have outsized impact in the world of pediatric cancer. Because these cancers are so rare, only four percent of government funding for cancer research goes to pediatrics. Therefore research relies heavily on private donations. Almost 30,000 people have donated so far to our fundraiser, and we’ve raised nearly 1.1 million to help Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center develop treatments for these cancers. As you can see, this amount of money can and does save lives. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
“The fundamental question of cancer biology has always been the same: ‘What makes a cancer cell a cancer cell?’ And we are closer to answering this than ever before. It’s a historic time. It’s the molecular era. This machine takes cells from tumors and breaks them into individual molecules. Millions of molecules per second pass through this machine, and we analyze all of them. We’re looking for the molecule that does not belong. If we find it, we can target it. And if we can target it, we can eliminate the cancer cells that depend on it. Cancer biologists have already discovered this molecule in certain types of blood cancer. This is not an overstatement. Today, with certain groups of patients, we can achieve cure.” ------------------------------------------------------ There are four days left in our fundraiser to help the doctors, nurses, and researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Over 30,000 people have donated so far and we’ve raised nearly $1.2 million. To put that in context—the money we’ve raised is enough to run Dr. Kentsis’s lab for an entire year. Your donations will have an impact, and could very well save lives. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
“In the movies, scientists are portrayed as having a ‘eureka moment’—that singular moment in time when their faces change and they find the answer. In practice, research is a lot of persistence and teamwork. So it’s hard to say what a ‘eureka moment’ would look like in my research. Maybe it’s when I’m finally able to look patients and parents in the eye and say with confidence that we have what’s needed to cure them. All oncologists hunger for that knowledge. We want to take this impenetrable mass of data and finally reach the point where we never have to give another 'percent chance of survival.' Because that chance will always be one hundred percent." ------------------------------------------------------There are four days left in our fundraiser to help the doctors, nurses, and researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Over 30,000 people have donated so far and we’ve raised nearly $1.2 million. To put that in context—the money we’ve raised is enough to run Dr. Kentsis’s lab for an entire year. Your donations will have an impact, and could very well save lives. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(1/6) “She came back from soccer practice one day, limping and crying. And we knew something wasn’t right because Grace is tough. The doctors thought it was a pulled muscle at first but when they gave her the MRI, they could see stuff in her bones. They said it wasn’t leukemia, and we thought: ‘Thank God.’ But then they told us it was neuroblastoma. Stage four, high risk-- as if stage four wasn’t bad enough, they had to add an extra label. I was so scared during our first meeting that I put a statue of the Virgin Mary on the table. I thought maybe it would protect us. The doctors started going through the treatment plan. They told us percentages but I didn’t want to listen. They might know about cancer but they didn’t know Grace. So I didn’t want to hear it. Two weeks after the diagnosis, a friend wrote Grace a really nice letter of encouragement. It basically said: ‘I had stage two cancer, and everything turned out just fine!’ Grace folded up the letter, and asked me: ‘Mom, what stage do I have?’ And I told her: ‘Four.’ And she said, ‘How many stages are there?’ I wanted so bad to say: ‘One hundred and fifty.’ But I had to tell her the truth.” ----------------------------------------------------------As we learn these stories, we are holding a fundraiser to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. This money will be used to develop innovative treatments for rare pediatric cancers. This research saves lives. There are three days left. Over 31,000 people have donated so far and we’ve raised over $1.2 million. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(2/6) “The radiation was so strong that I couldn’t sit next to her for two weeks. But Grace handled all her treatment so well. She named her new dog after the chemotherapy medicine. She’d walk through the lobby of the hospital, and she’d see kids who’d lost limbs, or had brain surgery, and she’d say: ‘I’m so lucky.’ But when the treatment was over, the doctors did another scan, and nothing had changed. They told me: ‘We’re no longer treating her to cure her.’ In the beginning they were so optimistic. They were telling me about all these options and all this stuff they were going to do. And now they were telling me to give up. And I’m looking at Grace. And she looks OK. She looks strong. She doesn’t look like the girl that I’m reading about in these medical charts. But they’re telling me to give up on her. They’re saying our goal is to keep her as comfortable as possible. Keep her comfortable? What do you mean? What are you trying to say? I’ll never forget that day. The doctor told me: ‘Let’s not worry about this afternoon’s appointment. Go home and have some fun.” ----------------------------------------------------- ----As we learn these stories, we are holding a fundraiser to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. This money will be used to develop innovative treatments for rare pediatric cancers. This research saves lives. There are three days left. Over 31,000 people have donated so far and we’ve raised over $1.2 million. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(3/6) “I wasn’t going to give up. We tried taking Grace to another hospital but they told us the same thing: ‘There’s nothing we can do.’ But then we brought her to Sloan, and they told us: ‘We think there’s one more thing we can try.’ It was an experimental antibody called Humanized 3F8. It triggered Grace’s immune system to attack her cancer. It was so painful. It felt like she was getting a root canal over her entire body. After two rounds of treatment they did another scan. They wanted to see if there was any progress. The therapy was so painful that if it wasn’t working they wanted to stop. They called me in the office to give me the results. They told Grace to wait outside. I was so nervous. I could barely stand. When I walked in, nobody was saying anything at first. I thought: ‘Oh, God. They don’t want to tell me.’ Suddenly they said: ‘This is amazing. It’s never happened before.’ And they held up her scan and the cancer was gone. It had been everywhere: her pelvis, her skull, her bones, her arms. And now it was gone. All of us started crying.” -------------------------------------------------------- You may remember the post from a few days ago that told the story of The Band of Parents, who raised $2,000,000 to fund the development of an antibody. Humanized 3F8 was that antibody. Grace’s life was saved through their efforts. Right now we are holding our own fundraiser to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. As you can see, this research saves lives. There are three days left. Over 33,000 people have donated so far and we are nearing $1.3 million. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio. Also, you can follow Gracie: @cookiescrumblers
(4/6) “I want to be a pediatric surgeon. Our friend Mark is a surgeon and he told me all about it. Being a pediatric surgeon will be hard because you never want to hurt kids. You just want to cuddle them and hold them. But saving them is most important so it’s something you have to do. Also blood doesn’t bother me like it bothers my brother—and he’s sixteen! One time he got blood work done and he was so scared that he curled his toes and his hands. It doesn’t bother me though. I even had my surgeon film my surgery for me because I wanted to see his techniques. When I asked him, he was like: ‘Nobody’s ever asked that before.’ And I said: ‘Please? We can use my brother’s GoPro.’” --------------------------------------------------------Grace’s life was saved by an experimental antibody that was funded by a group of parents who raised $2,000,000. We are currently holding our own fundraiser to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. This money funds the science that saves the lives of children. There are three days left. Over 35,000 people have donated so far and we have raised over $1.3 million. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio. Also, you can follow Gracie: @cookiescrumblers
(5/6) “These are my beads of courage. You get a yellow bead for an overnight stay. A white bead is for chemo. A black bead is when you get pricked. And I have two special heart-shaped beads because my heart stopped twice. The first time my heart stopped was late at night. It started beating really fast, and my nurse got very scared, and suddenly ten doctors ran in. They pulled out a big bag of ice and put it on my chest. I was a little annoyed because Justin Bieber was performing at the VMA’s and I had to turn down the volume. The doctors said, ‘Grace have you ever been on a roller coaster? This medicine is going to make you feel like you’re going down a giant hill!’ And they started putting those shock paddles on me. And I heard them tell my mom they were going to stop my heart, and she took out her Valium and started chewing it so it would work faster. Then somebody screamed, ‘Everyone clear!’ And my Mom said: ‘Are you ready Grace? It’s just a roller coaster! Are you ready?’ And then they pushed the shot into my IV and it felt like the world stopped spinning. The machine was going ‘beep, beep, beep,’ but then it stopped. And then nothing. And then nothing. And it felt like a giant boulder was dropped on my chest. And then suddenly my heart started beating again. And I yelled: ‘That did not feel like a roller coaster!’” ------------------------------------------------------Grace’s life was saved by an experimental antibody, which resulted from the efforts of a group of parents who raised $2,000,000 to fund research. We are currently holding our own fundraiser to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. There are three days left. Over 35,000 people have donated so far and we have raised over $1.4 million. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio. Also, you can follow Gracie: @cookiescrumblers
(6/6) “If I was to write a book about this whole experience, it would be called The Town That Saved Grace. So many people rallied around my daughter. There are just so many good people out there. Every time you turn on the TV, it’s always people yelling and fighting. You forget how many good people there are. After Grace got diagnosed, people cooked dinner for us for months. The schools were so supportive. Everyone helped out: the swim team, the soccer team, the fire department, the church. Our church had a rosary for Grace one day and they couldn’t even fit everyone in the chapel. Absolute strangers would stop us in the supermarket and tell us they were praying for us. But the moment I’ll never forget is when we were driving in our car one day, and we pulled over to stop at a lemonade stand. And it was a lemonade stand for Grace.” -------------------------------------------------------Grace’s life was saved by an experimental antibody, which resulted from the efforts of a group of parents who raised $2,000,000 to fund research. We are currently holding our own fundraiser to help the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in their fight against pediatric cancer. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. There are three days left. Over 35,000 people have donated so far and we have raised over $1.4 million. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio. Also, you can follow Gracie: @cookiescrumblers
“Sebastian was diagnosed when he was twenty months old. He needed several rounds of chemo just to shrink the tumor to the size of an orange. He couldn’t eat for fifteen days because they didn’t want to feed the tumor. He was in so much pain. The lining of his stomach had burned away. Every time he woke up, I’d just rock him back to sleep. I never wanted him to be awake. I was hoping so hard that he was still young enough to forget everything. But the cancer kept coming back. And he grew old enough to realize he was sick. And that broke my heart. I was up with him one night after the cancer came back again. He’d already had six surgeries at this point and we were doing more chemotherapy. He was throwing up and had diarrhea. I felt so bad for him. And I was so tired and felt so guilty for neglecting my other children. And Sebastian said to me, ‘I’m so happy, Mommy.’ And I was so confused because I couldn’t understand how he could possibly be happy. Then he smiled, and said: ‘Because I love you so much.’” ----------------------------------------------------------We have two days left in our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 44,000 people have donated and over $1.6 million has been raised so far. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
“I have two birthdays. My first birthday is May 19th, 1992. And my second birthday is December 28th, 2007. That’s the day that I got my bone marrow transplant and my new immune system was born. I was just like a baby again. I was so weak. I had no energy. I couldn’t do anything for myself. We celebrate that day every year. It’s not a huge party. I don’t get a big cake-- maybe just a cupcake with a candle. But my family gets together and we talk about all the good things that have happened to us in the previous year. I always say that I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. Even the cancer. Because my family is very close now. And sometimes I feel that we are this… because of that.” ----------------------------------------------------------We have two days left in our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Over 46,000 people have donated and $1.7 million has been raised so far. It would be amazing if we could reach 50,000 donations by the end of the series. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(1/4) “I’ve been on a mission for seventeen years. It’s my holy grail. I’m trying to cure a brain tumor called DIPG that kills 100 percent of the children who have it. It only affects 200 kids a year so it’s never gotten much attention. But if you saw a child die from DIPG, you’d understand why I care so much. It’s awful. It’s just awful. Parents come to me in droves asking me to help. They say: ‘This can’t happen. Please do something.’ But there’s nothing I can do. Their child will be dead in a year. It’s horrible. It’s been a very tough thing to care about. I didn’t get into neurosurgery to watch kids die. I chose this job to heal people. And DIPG has been seventeen years of watching kids die. It’s a very dark place to work. But if I can find a cure, so much of that pain will be paid back in a single instant. And on that day I will feel like there has been some justice.” ----------------------------------------------------------We have two days left in our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. This includes the research of Dr. Souwedaine, whose story is being told this evening. Over 47,000 people have donated and $1.7 million has been raised so far. It would be amazing if we could reach $2,000,000 by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(2/4) “When I first started working on DIPG in 1990, I thought: ‘I’ll figure it out in two years.’ That was before I had gray hair. I had no money. My office was the size of a closet and I was buying my own rats. But I was so optimistic. I had no idea what was facing me. There were so many hurdles I didn’t see. Everything was new. I never had any experts I could call or articles I could read. I had to figure everything out on my own. From a surgeon’s viewpoint, the tumor is unforgiving. It infiltrates the brain stem. Everything your body feels or experiences passes through that stem. You can’t violate it with a knife. It’s futile to even think about. So I had to figure out how to insert a catheter through the brain, and inject chemotherapy directly into the tumor. There is zero room for error. These chemicals must only touch the tumor. If you miss the target by a couple millimeters, it can be fatal. Brain surgeons aren’t artists. There isn’t much room to be creative. The innovator in neurosurgery is under a great deal of pressure. We must invent without being too imaginative. If we stray too far from our ancestors, it could lead to death.” ----------------------------------------------------------We have two days left in our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. This includes the research of Dr. Souwedaine, whose story is being told this evening. Nearly 50,000 people have donated and $1.8 million has been raised so far. It would be amazing if we could reach $2,000,000 by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(3/4) “In May of 2012, I finally got approval to conduct a clinical trial. A family flew up from Florida with their child Caitlyn. I was so nervous. I’d written so many elegant papers. I’d conducted so many trials on mice. I’d done so many tests in the lab proving that this could work. But here I was looking at a human child. Am I really ready? The spotlight was unbelievable. If I kill this child, it will decimate me emotionally. And the institution’s reputation was on the line. Had I done enough? Had I prepared enough? All these things were running through my mind as Caitlyn’s mother signed the consent. But when she finished, she turned to me and said: ‘Whatever happens, thank you for trying.’ And I still get emotional when I think about that. Because she took so much weight off me. The operation was a success. This is Caitlyn a week later. She could walk! She could jump! She could touch her nose! She lived for a year after that, but then her cancer came back and killed her. It was so hard for me. I was so close to her family. But right now I’ve had about twenty successful trials. That’s twenty living children. One young woman has been alive for three years. Every passing day that those children are still alive is the greatest day of my life.” -------------------------------------------------------- We have two days left in our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. This includes the research of Dr. Souwedaine, whose story is being told this evening. Nearly 50,000 people have donated and $1.8 million has been raised so far. It would be amazing if we could reach $2,000,000 by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(4/4) “My childhood was building things: model rockets, model cars, train sets, airplanes. And I didn’t just build them. I focused on every detail. I hand painted every letter on the train. I sanded the wooden ribs of the airplane until everything was so precise and fit. And it felt so good when that work was finished and appreciated. It was the same drive that brought me into neurosurgery. I loved fixing things. And I had always been successful. To get to be a neurosurgeon, I had to succeed on so many levels. I’d become accustomed to success. But I finally found something I couldn’t fix. All my DIPG patients were dying. It was failure beyond failure. Kids were dying because I’m not good enough at this. And they don’t deserve it. And neither do the parents. It’s so hard to face these parents. They’ve envisioned everything that’s going to happen to their child from the day they were born: the first girlfriend, the first job, the first homerun, the first time tasting meatballs, it’s infinite. And they come into my office and, ‘Kaboom.’ All of it disappears. It’s horrible. Seeing their faces. It’s beyond abominable. I just can’t take it. I’ve got to stop these kids from dying.” -------------------------------------------------------Help us fund Dr. Souwedaine's work. There are less than two days left in our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Your donations will fund the science that saves the lives of children. This includes the research of Dr. Souwedaine. Over 50,000 people have donated and we’ve raised $1.9 million so so far. It would be amazing if we could reach $2,000,000 by the end of the series. Even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
(1/5) "Max had two mothers. We found a sperm donor and I gave birth to him through IVF. He was actually a twin. I decided to reduce the pregnancy because I was scared at the time. I didn't think I could handle twins. And that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life. Max was such a sweet child. I was a bit of a hard ass on him. I wanted to be sure that I gave him boundaries because I never had them growing up. But I think it brought us closer together. Because he knew I’d always protect him. And he was so protective of me too. But in such a sweet way. He’d hold my face in his hands. God he was so sweet. Just such a nice guy. So funny. He loved to laugh. His bedroom was close to ours and we used to hear him in there late at night, laughing by himself." ------------------------------------------------- This is the final day of our fundraiser to help fight pediatric cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We’ve raised over $2 million so far. Funding is scarce in pediatric cancer and largely relies on private donations. So these donations will have a giant impact. They will fund the science that saves the lives of children. So even if it’s a small amount, please consider donating. Link in bio.
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He has a rare brain tumor, which has significantly affected his life, as well as his parents' lives.

His mother told Stanton about her difficult experience of watching her son fall ill, as well as how grim it has been for her and her husband to cope with the reality of the disease.

Gabe was asked about his toughest challenge, and he responded with the innocence of a child. He said, "My biggest challenge? Two words for you: third grade."

Gabe's personal story set Stanton's fundraiser into motion, leading Humans of New York to highlight stories from doctors who work at the Cancer Center.

The Center's chairman, Dr. Richard O'Reilly, has provided stories of his experience in treating pediatric cancer over the last 30 years.

Stanton's original fundraising goal for the campaign has been doubled, raising more than $2 million dollars in just two weeks.

His efforts have given many families hope and encouragement.

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