Central nervous system tumors (tumors of the brain and spine) are the second most common cancer in children – second only to leukemia.
The Brain Tumor program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is one of the largest in the United States – seeing more than 200 new patients each year.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has one of the largest research programs with a cancer center that is at the forefront of research and development of new therapies.
Brain tumors are the deadliest form of childhood cancer. Many with survival rates less than twenty percent.
Benign tumors can kill children if their location prevents removal. The tumors destroy brain cells by causing inflammation and pressing on other areas of the brain.
Research that focuses specifically on pediatric brain tumors is crucial to saving children's lives and improving survivors' quality of life.
Brain tumors are located in children's control center of thought, emotion and movement. Treatment often results in long term side effects. Most will have emotional, physical and learning challenges that limit their quality of life.
The summer of 2010 changed our lives forever. Our son, Kevin, came home from a baseball game and complained that during the game he was "seeing two baseballs" when catching a fly ball.
We took him to our pediatrician who promptly arranged for Kevin to be seen by an ophthalmologist. We could have never been prepared for what they suspected.
We were sent immediately to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and within a few days, our otherwise perfectly healthy child was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
There are no words to describe the profound devastation and overwhelming emotions we felt when we heard the words "brain tumor".
Our blessing came with the news that the tumor was benign with a favorable prognosis. Surgery was performed immediately to alleviate the complications which were caused by the tumor.
Three years later, Kevin continues to do well and will be followed by MRI yearly. Our visits to oncology have opened our eyes to another world.
We all know of someone touched by cancer, however, until you spend a day in their world, you never truly understand. We now give extra hugs, say many prayers, and cherish every wonderfully simple thing that our kids accomplish every day.
There are so many kids who did not receive the same prognosis as Kevin and spend every day literally fighting to stay alive.
Be thankful for the healthy kids in your lives and please help us to support those who are fighting for theirs.
Kevin and Debbie
Kevin, Maria, Anna and Gabrielle