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A Stand Up To Cancer Story You’ll Be Glad You Read

Greta and her older sister, Charlotte, one week after being discharged from Seattle Children's Hospital.

Before her three-month-old daughter, Greta, was diagnosed with a rare cancer, Maggie used to turn away from stories about children with cancer. Not anymore. Maggie now understands how critical Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is in saving lives like Greta’s. If you don’t read any further than this, you need to know that without your tax deductible donations to SU2C, their innovative and collaborative approach in bringing researchers together and clinical trials to children and adults with a wide array of cancers might not survive. SU2C research investigates cancers associated with more than 80% of all cancer diagnoses in the US and Canada.

If you can’t watch this year’s SU2C Telecast Friday, September 9th, 2016, at 7pm CST, on most major television networks, please give a donation now to support SU2C’s research programs. 100% of money raised from the public goes to support SU2C research itself.

Greta’s parents couldn’t have known she would spend almost three years of her young life fighting cancer. Not only was Greta a baby when she was diagnosed and began treatment, but she had a rare cancer: infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

Her father is an electrical engineer and her mother, Maggie, is a molecular biologist. Ironically, Maggie is a project manager for clinical research studies like the SU2C study Greta ultimately participated in.

“When she was first diagnosed, we poured over reports and their data,” Maggie said. “No one really knows how to treat these rare cancers; whether to treat them with chemo and/or bone marrow transplants, plus transplants for babies can be deadly. We had to be convinced that transplant was the way to go.” Because her cancer was so aggressive, Greta was routed to bone marrow transplant after her initial chemo treatment. Charlotte, her older sister, was her donor.

“Just when you think it can’t get more awful,” Maggie said, “You find out it can.” Greta had life-threatening complications and was on dialysis and a breathing machine. Finally, when Greta was released from the hospital, she had a few good months before she relapsed. Her family considered palliative care until an infant leukemia support group on Facebook informed Maggie of a SU2C clinical trial that had just opened up at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“I called Seattle Children’s and in 30 minutes, Dr. Gardner called me back… We packed up our house; shipped our dogs to my brother’s house; my parents kept Charlotte, and we drove up to Seattle with our suitcases and lived there for eight months while Greta was treated. It was a last ditch effort, and we are so thankful for the help we got there.

“While there were other children participating in this pediatric T-cell therapy, PLAT-02 trial, Greta was the first baby treated. We wanted something that could be curative… It can be that for some people. What I do know is the Stand Up To Cancer T-cell therapy Seattle Children’s is doing is a game changer.

Because childhood cancers receive 4% of our national cancer research budget, what makes up for the disparity are private dollars, such as funds raised by Stand Up To Cancer.

Greta’s always been a happy baby, but it wasn’t until after the T-cell therapy that her parents saw her true personality emerge because she felt better. “She’s been blossoming ever since. She started preschool last year. She’s the class clown. She’s a total goofball,” Maggie said. “She’s a great sister and a great friend who’s really compassionate. She’s a joyful child.” Greta had her two-year, post-T-cell therapy checkup, and her oncologist has referred her to survivorship clinic.

“We’re happy with each little milestone. When you survive something like this, everything takes on a deeper meaning. For a child who we didn’t think would make it through the night sometimes, just seeing her walk through the doorway is a huge thing.”

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31 thoughts on “A Stand Up To Cancer Story You’ll Be Glad You Read”

  1. Such an amazing story, what a wonderful outcome but how heart-wrenching it must have been for the entire family to go through that. And I’m with Paula, you’re a fabulous advocate for SU2C! Thank you for writing these stories and highlighting the work of this vital organisation. Essie xxxx

  2. A truly amazing story! Thank goodness for SU2C! Foundations like these are so very important and deserve our help to continue. Thanks for highlighting this one!

    • I wish I could have conveyed the terror and sacrifice each member of this family went through to give Greta a shot a growing up…. and to think there are millions and millions of families going through this. Thanks for reading, Jennifer.

  3. Thank you for sharing this post about precious Greta. What a story she will have to share when she is older! And huge thanks to SU2C and all that is being done to eradicate cancer from our lives!

  4. This is an amazing story of survival, Brenda. I can’t even fathom what this family went through day to day, but they all showed the courage to see it through and that is a true survival story. I love all the work SU2C does every day. Thanks for sharing!

    • Barbara, Thanks for your comment. Greta and her family have endured so much. SU2C’s Telecast is tonight, so I hope millions of people watch and donate. There will be many more courageous stories. Thank, God, for Sherry Lansing and the great people at SU2C. xoxox, Brenda

  5. Dear Jesus, Divine Physician, Healer of the Sick.

    A. We call upon you and ask your help for our loved ones

    who are suffering from cancer.

    We entrust them to your loving care.

    They are your children and they are in pain.

    Give them the ability to know in their hearts

    that you are with them in this difficult time.

    Give them strength and healing.

    Comfort them in their fears,

    soothe their anxiety,

    and let them rest securely in your arms.

    Help those who care for them.

    Give insight to researchers that they may discover cures.

    Give patience and energy to doctors and nurses so that

    they will care for them with grace and love.

    For us, their families, their friends and their community,

    we need your courage and strength,

    to be with them and help them bear their burdens.

    Give us joy, peace and confidence in you

    we may stand with them in faith and trust,

    witnessing to your healing love.

    For you are blessed, for ever and ever. Amen…. In Jesus Christ Name I Pray. Amen.

  6. I’m currently in Seattle visiting a friend with T-cell lymphoma. As I watched him interacting with his young sons, I thought that nothing could be more sad. Until this. Greta’s story made me cry. Have just donated to SUTC. May Greta’s family continue their good fight with hope and love.

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