By: Erin Weller
July marks Sarcoma Awareness Month. Sarcomas are a diverse group of cancers that arise from bone or soft tissue in the body. There are over 100 different subtypes, making treatment difficult — not every sarcoma can be treated the same.
Meet four childhood cancer heroes who are battling pediatric sarcoma:
Gaby was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in 2019 after a swollen right leg sent her to the hospital. Her cancer is high-risk, but her family has faith in their 13-year-old fighter.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented some unprecedented challenges for their family, Gaby continues her treatment with the hope of one day being cancer-free. Although her battle is no longer on the volleyball court, her family continues to cheer for her from the sidelines.
Declan’s infectious positive attitude was an inspiration to all who knew him. In 2011, Declan was sent to the hospital for severe headaches and vomiting. He was diagnosed with primary central nervous system rhabdomyosarcoma and underwent his first brain surgery at the age of 3.
Despite an aggressive treatment plan, Declan couldn’t help smiling, laughing and playing, claiming to have no bad days.
In 2012, he sadly passed on, but the lessons he taught his parents in grace and perseverance live on to this day.
Balian is a one-of-a-kind kid who loves learning new things. What started as “an extreme charley horse” for Balian quickly developed into something unbearable. A trip to the emergency room and some tests revealed a tumor wrapped around his femur. Balian was diagnosed with chondroblastic osteosarcoma.
Even after several surgeries – including the amputation of his right leg – and chemotherapy, Balian continues his treatment through home healthcare until it is safe to begin traveling again.
Today, Balian is still fighting for his future with a curious mind and his family by his side.
Gabby’s feisty spirit and stubborn personality proved to be two of her greatest assets in her fight against metastatic osteosarcoma. In 2017, Gabby received her diagnosis after a persistent leg pain revealed a tumor in her right leg. In removing the tumor, part of her knee and femur had to be replaced with titanium, leaving Gabby in a wheelchair until she was able to walk again, over a year later.
Today, she is cancer-free with dreams of becoming a pediatric oncology nurse to help others just like her.
July is Sarcoma Awareness Month. All year long ALSF funds innovative, breakthrough childhood cancer research. Learn more about our research program and get involved, here.