Osteosarcoma Survivor
Read Mariah's Story

Brain Tumor Survivor
Read Josh's Story

Leukemia Survivor
Read Sydney's Story

Leukemia Survivor
Read Alijah's Story

Wilms Tumor Survivor
Read Rosie's Story

Leukemia Survivor
Read Ryan's Story

Retinoblastoma Survivor
Read Sydney's Story

Kids’ Stories

Ordinary kids, extraordinary courage

Beyond the science and statistics about childhood cancer are the remarkable stories of young patients whose courageous spirit inspires us every day. Meet some of these extraordinary kids and learn about their families’ unique struggles and triumphs.

Adalyn’s Story: Surviving Retinoblastoma

Adalyn of South Saint Paul, Minnesota was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma on September 24, 2012, at mere 9 months old. “Never did we imagine that we would be told that she had a tumor in her retina and that it was cancer” parents Tim and Theresa recall. Read More

Alijah’s Story: Surviving Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Read the story of a family who joyfully watched their toddler hit the typical milestones and then the shocking diagnosis that will forever impact their lives. Read More

Caden’s Story: Surviving a Brain Tumor

Shortly before his second birthday, Caden’s parents Tracy and Thane noticed a deviation in Caden’s right eye. They brought him in to see an ophthalmologist, but the standard method of treatment just seemed to make the deviation worse. Caden was quickly pushed up the list to receive an MRI at the University of Minnesota. What the MRI revealed came as a shock to everyone. Read More

Cameron’s Story: Surviving Fanconi Anemia

What is it like to watch your child grow-up knowing all the while she will one day need a lifesaving treatment? When faced with this inevitability, her family chose the best in the world at performing this treatment. Read More

Connor’s Story: Surviving a Brain Tumor

Connor Dykes, now six years old, is a ball of energy. From the moment he wakes until his head gently rests on his pillow, he’s nonstop motion - laughing, singing, asking inquisitive questions, and alternately playing and fighting with his older sister Joselyn. In other words, he’s a lot like any other kindergartener. That Connor is alive at all is miraculous. Read More

Derek’s Story: Surviving Hurler Syndrome

Derek’s parents Holly and Scott soon learned that the best place to treat Derek’s disease was University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, using stem cell therapy treatments funded in part by grants from Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Read More

Eleafar’s Story: Surviving Epidermolysis Bullosa

Even the slightest human touch can cause 12-year-old Eleafar “Eduardo” to bristle in pain. His mother can’t kiss him. She can’t hug him. She can’t hold his hand when he is sick. And what may seem like simple ways of a mother taking care of her son are so painful it can take hours for his mother to do each day Read More

Emma’s Story: Surviving Neuroblastoma

In the summer of 1999, Emma was a toddler with a cough that prompted parents Angie and Shaughn to bring her to the doctor. A chest x-ray revealed a tennis ball-sized tumor. The family went straight from the radiologist to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. Read More

Gabrielle’s Story: Surviving Sarcomas

“Life came to a sudden halt when Gabrielle was diagnosed with osteosarcoma,” says Gabrielle's mother, Tami. That was in 2006, and life is just now beginning to resume some sense of normalcy. Read More

Isaac’s Story: Surviving Ewing Sarcoma

As 11-year old Isaac lay in the hospital recuperating from chemo, he could sense his younger sister was worried. “Sissy, don’t worry,” he told her. “I’m not going down without a fight.” Read More

Jack’s Story: Surviving a Brain Tumor

At about 3 months old Jack started sleeping more and randomly vomiting. After several trips to the doctor, they were told he had a stomach virus and it would work itself out. Knowing something wasn't right and trusting their gut feeling that had been lingering for a couple weeks, Bre and Tony took him to the Emergency Room, where after an MRI he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Read More

Jacob’s Story: Surviving Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Jacob’s journey with ALL began In February, 2008. After watching her son become more and more listless, Jacob’s mother, Julie, took him to an Urgent Care, where the doctor diagnosed an ear infection. Two days after Jacob finished his antibiotics, his symptoms returned. Read More

Jillian’s Story: Surviving B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

An otherwise healthy and physically active child who loves swimming and horseback riding, Jillian started experiencing sharp bodily pains and a high fever a short time after starting pre-school. At first, her parents assumed it was just a pre-school related bug however, when the symptoms only became worse, they went to see a specialist at the University of Minnesota. Read More

Joseph’s Story: Surviving Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

To his family, 9-year-old Joseph is a treasure, with a great love for friends, his big sisters, and a budding acting career. Today you would never know he had gone through not one, but two, dangerous--yet lifesaving--bone marrow transplants to cure a rare genetic disease, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Read More

Joseph’s Story: Surviving Osteopetrosis

Osteopetrosis is a big word for such a little guy, and yet Joseph, now just a little over a year old, has had that word attached to him since he was eight months old. For Joseph, gastrointestinal issues were the first sign that something was wrong, according to his mother, Kim. Despite the temptation to attribute the symptoms to normal childhood allergies, she knew in her heart that it was more. Read More

Josh’s Story: Surviving a Brain Tumor

On Christmas Eve morning 2002, Josh was so sick that his parents took him to the emergency room at a local children’s hospital. A CAT scan revealed a tumor--the size of an adult fist--growing in the two-year-old’s head. Read More

Katie’s Story: Surviving Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

Katie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) in 1984. She does not remember much about the situation except that her joints hurt, her glands were swollen, and she had enough severe abdominal pain to warrant an appendectomy. Read More

Kiersten’s Story: Surviving Burkitt’s Lymphoma

Kiersten was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma in August, 2004 when she was 8 years old. At the time of Kiersten’s diagnosis, her tumor was doubling in size every 48 hours and had reached the size of eight grapefruits. Read More

Laura’s Story: Her journey with Osteosarcoma

Laura Goering was finishing up her summer job at a local landscape nursery and looking forward to her senior year when a persistent pain in her leg eventually became so severe that she went in to see her doctor. Read More

Luke and Molly’s Story: Surviving Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Imagine facing the devastating diagnosis that your child has a rare condition that is fatal if left untreated....twice. Parents Julie and Brandon faced twice the heartache when both of their children, Luke and Molly, were diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Read More

Luke’s Story: Surviving Osteosarcoma

"Osteosarcoma has changed the dynamics of our home and our family," says Jamie, whose son Luke was diagnosed with the disease. "Little things just don’t matter all that much now.” Read More

Mariah’s Story: Surviving Osteosarcoma

The same afternoon that Mariah's adoption was finalized, a bump on her ankle was diagnosed as a malignant bone tumor. Read More

Mathew’s Story: Surviving Lymphoma

“I really didn’t understand my diagnosis; I was very hungry and just wanted a doughnut to eat,” recalls 11-year-old Mathew Odette about the day he learned he had Burkitt’s lymphoma, a cancer that grows in the lymphatic system. Read More

Mikaela’s Story: Surviving Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Mikaela Gerick started ninth grade like many students—easing into a new school and meeting new friends. But unlike her classmates, Mikaela would spend the next three years battling cancer. From the moment of her diagnosis, Mikaela’s care team found that her health and responses to treatment were unpredictable. Read More

Owen and Dylan’s Story: Surviving Adrenoleukodystrophy

Parents don't always want their children to carry on family traditions. Jason and Darlene knew that ALD ran in their family because Darlene's older sister had lost two sons to the disease, and when they found out all three of their sons had it, they were devastated. Read More

Owen’s Story: Surviving Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

In 2006, when Owen developed an ear infection and a cough at 11 months old, everyone thought a trip to Urgent Care for an antibiotic was all he needed. It helped for a while, but soon his symptoms were back. Read More

Rosie’s Story: Surviving Wilms Tumor

Any child diagnosed with cancer has the battle for their life ahead of them. However, what if you lived in a third world country and didn’t know you had the disease? Rosie Jones has such a story, but thanks to the research and doctors supported by Children’s Cancer Research Fund, it has a happy ending. Read More

Ryan’s Story: Surviving Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

After the sniffles turned into a raging fever, his pediatrician decided to test a blood sample. The results were absolutely devastating – Ryan had leukemia. Read More

Sydney’s Story: Surviving Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)

It was rare enough that a 13-week-old infant would have leukemia in the first place, but Sydney's type was exceptionally rare. And to treat it, she would become the first person in the world to receive mesenchymal stem cells from an unrelated donor. Read More

Sydney’s Story: Surviving Retinoblastoma

Lisa and husband Gregg were given two treatment options: remove Sydney’s eye or begin six months of chemotherapy plus cryotherapy — a new treatment that would freeze the tumor cells. Read More

The Rambergs’ Story: Three Generations of Retinoblastoma

Surviving childhood cancer is enough of a challenge. Meet an inspiring family who has done it for three generations. Read More

Will’s Story: Surviving Sinonasal Teratocarcinosarcoma

Will is a tough and resilient boy that loves fishing, Nerf guns and being outdoors. His resilience was tested when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as sinonasal teratocarcinosarcoma two years ago. Read More

Zach’s Story: Surviving Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin Disease

Diagnosed with stage IV Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkin Disease in September last year, 15-year-old Zach of Woodbury, Minnesota was just preparing to enter his freshman year of high school. After completing 17 radiation treatments and chemotherapy at the University of Minnesota, Zach is technically cancer free. Read More