Together, We Can 'Slay Leukemia Dragons'

With your help, we can bring light to children like Danny, 11, through better treatments.

With your help, we can bring light to children like Danny, 11, through better treatments.

Danny, 11, wears braces on his legs because chemotherapy left him too weak to walk on his own. With total numbness in his fingers, toes and joints, it takes a lot of energy for him to take even a few steps.

But upon entering Danny's house, one of the first things you see is an image of David and Goliath, depicting the biblical story about a small young man who beats a giant man despite the odds. On the same table, there's a series of action figures, dragons and a man with a bow and arrow. His brothers say it's Danny, slaying the "leukemia dragons."

And, that's exactly how Danny is approaching his high-risk T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis.

Though leukemia is considered one of the most highly treatable cancers, Danny and his family have found that the treatments for the disease are far from perfect.

After his cancer diagnosis in September 2015, Danny spent 25 out of 40 nights in the hospital and lost 20 pounds as he endured chemotherapy, spinal taps, surgeries and feeding tubes in his first month of treatment. He also suffered dehydration, could not eat as swallowing caused him chest pains, and was connected to an IV fluid bag for 18 hours each day.

Because of his severe weight loss, Danny also underwent surgery to have a feeding tube placed in his stomach. He received all medications and fluids through his feeding tube and was fed through the tube for 10 hours per day.

In spite of it all, he makes an effort to bring a light into the world—like when he gives his nurses and doctors Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or makes a special trip to his school to read to the kindergarten class. He's often too sick to make it to school, so seeing Danny is a treat for his classmates.

You Can Help Children Like Danny
With you, we believe we can pay it forward and bring light to children everywhere through better treatments.

Thanks to research funded by Children's Cancer Research Fund, Peter Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., thinks using tiny particles to deliver drugs directly to cancer cells may help lessen side effects in childhood cancer treatments.

Dr. Gordon has already discovered how to deliver drugs to leukemia cells using nanoparticles. Typically, these tiny particles are about 20-100 nanometers. To put that in perspective, a sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. This novel delivery system may help cancer drugs be more effective while making a patient less sick, because the targeted treatment avoids healthy cells and directly activates the drug in cancer cells.

Dr. Gordon will further test his nanoparticle delivery system on Ewing sarcoma and neuroblastoma cells with a drug used to treat many childhood cancers. If successful and given continued funding, Dr. Gordon's idea could impact children with a variety of cancers around the world.

That means kids like Danny won't need braces to walk (among many other advances).

Create Hope for Children

You can create hope for children like Danny by including Children's Cancer Research Fund in your will or estate plan. Your gift can be as simple as a percentage of the remainder of your estate. If you're interested in making a gift that benefits children after your lifetime, contact Amy Polski Larson at 952-224-8486 or apolskilarson@childrenscancer.org today.