The Forum Luncheon featured an in-depth conversation between Dr. David G. Poplack, director of Texas Children’s Cancer Center, and FOX 26 Morning News Co-Anchor Melissa Wilson — along with stories from cancer survivors.
Poplack discussed the Cancer Center’s phenomenal growth and success.
“We have become the largest and, we believe, the finest children’s cancer program in the country,” he said. “Through our many research advances, our development of exciting, effective new therapies — and most recently through our burgeoning global program — we are having a far-reaching impact.”
Since Poplack came to Texas Children’s in 1993, the Cancer Center has grown significantly to what it is today. He emphasized how critically important it is for children with cancer to be treated at a comprehensive pediatric hospital like Texas Children’s, with experts in every specialty and subspecialty. He also explained why a multidisciplinary, family-centered approach to pediatric cancer care is imperative, citing some of the immense challenges families face — from the shock of initial diagnosis of a life-threatening disease to frequent serious complications to major emotional stress for both patients and families.
Picking up on this theme, Wilson told her own poignant story about her son who was treated at Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
“My little boy, Caleb, was only two weeks into kindergarten when he spent the next 10 days at Texas Children’s fighting for his life,” Wilson said. “His oncologist hugged him so lovingly, and there were wonderful art events for him to enjoy. Who knew a cancer center could be fun? Who knew my child would love going to the Cancer Center?”
Texas Children’s Cancer Center patient, Eden Green, and her family were also at the Forum Luncheon. When she was just 10 years old, Eden, who loves to dance, experienced throbbing pain in her leg that worsened over time. She was diagnosed at Texas Children’s with a rare bone tumor, which eventually spread to her spine, shoulders and hips, making her unable to walk for 10 months. After undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Eden is now in remission and has been declared cancer free.
“Texas Children’s was there at the right time for us,” said Shannon Green, Eden’s mom. “We were in the right place, and we are forever thankful for our doctors and nurses and for their will not to give up and to find out what to do.”
Poplack stressed that even with dramatic improvements in treating children — the survival rate has increased from 20 percent to 80 percent in the United States — cancer is still the leading cause of death from disease in children.
“We are dedicated to developing effective treatments for the 20 percent of childhood cancer cases that are most difficult to treat,” he said, noting the Cancer Center’s research focus in the areas of developmental therapeutics, precision oncology, cell therapy and immunotherapy. “We won’t quit until we find a cure, and even then, we will move forward to find better ways to help fulfill the long-term needs of childhood cancer survivors.”
“… We are forever thankful for our doctors and nurses and for their will not to give up …” – Shannon Green
To learn more about Eden’s story at Texas Children’s, visit waystogive.texaschildrens.org/eden.