Hosting the National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month affair are the Georgia chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorder Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which like their fellow alliance members share a common goal — conquering the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children ages 0 to 15.
“Each group can continue to succeed with their own efforts but now, hopefully, has more strength in numbers,” said hospital spokesman Brant Rawls. “One of the greatest accomplishments in the last year for childhood cancer treatment is the approval of a very novel and specific type of radiation treatment not previously offered to children in Atlanta.”
Alliance member CURE Childhood Cancer donated $200,000 in June for a lead-lined room in which to conduct high-powered radiation of neuroblastomas, one of the most aggressive cancers in children.
Dr. Kelly Goldsmith of the hospital said more than 50 percent of patients succumb to the tumors when their bodies’ own proteins protect the cancer cells.
“The majority of those children die from recurrent disease because the cancer becomes resistant to chemotherapy,” she said.
Goldsmith is working on disabling the tumors’ “bodyguards” to help cure patients like Cameron Jackson of Alpharetta, 3, who is battling Stage 4 tumors.
“The months that followed his diagnosis went by in a blur of chemotherapy and trips to the emergency room,” his mother, Nikki Durban-Jackson, said. “Cameron has had six rounds of chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants. Our journey is far from over, but he continues to fight and beat the odds.”
Alliance member Curing Kids Cancer also fights by donating to innovative therapy research. “Innovative therapy with novel drugs is really for families who are not ready to give up,” said Dr. Howard Katzenstein of the hospital, who announced the alliance last year with Gov. Nathan Deal.
Dr. Todd Cooper of the hospital is working on depriving leukemias, the most prevalent pediatric cancer, of their hiding places in bone marrow by using the new drug Ac220 to push the hidden cells into circulation, where they can be destroyed.
“This offers hope to patients and their families,” Cooper said.
If you go
What: Little Heroes Prom (for pediatric cancer patients ages 5 to 15)
When: Sept. 23 from 2 to 6 p.m.
Where: Greystone, Piedmont Park, 1320 Monroe Drive, Midtown
Information: (404) 720-7816 or http://bit.ly/SpN3OW