Gold Ribbon Reps

Childhood Cancer Awareness

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Alex's Million Mile

These Gold Ribbon Representatives each represent one of the main types of childhood cancer. This September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, show your support for ending childhood cancer by joining Alex's Million Mile.

Maeve Elizabeth Smart

Maeve is one determined teenager - she is a wonderful sister, incredible student, fun-loving friend and concert fiend. At the age of 11, Maeve was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. After enduring surgeries and months of treatment, things just weren't improving the way her doctors had hoped. When another aggressive tumor was discovered, Maeve's right leg required amputation above the knee. That alone, would be enough for many to lose hope but Maeve persevered and despite suffering terrible effects from her treatment- some requiring additional surgeries- Maeve is now cancer free and looking forward to returning to school and walking for the first time in 4 years.

Representative for Osteosarcoma
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, and accounts for about 3% of cancers that happen in children. Because osteosarcoma usually develops from osteoblasts, the cells that make growing bone, it most commonly affects teens who are having a growth spurt.
Ryker Liam Wright

Ryker, a sweet baby who kept his infectious smile even through the rough times, was diagnosed with an extrarenal malignant rhabdoid tumor when he was 8 months old. Sadly, after the cancer spread quickly from his upper thigh to his lungs and liver, Ryker passed away at just 9 months old. The Wright family hopes that, one day soon, childhood cancer research will receive more national funding than the 4% that is currently allotted.

Representative for Rhabdoid Tumors
A malignant rhabdoid tumor is one of the most aggressive cancers and is often found in children under the age of two.
Alex Thomas

At just 4 months old, Alex was diagnosed with stage 3 hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer. Throughout his treatment he fought hard and thrived, but at his 18 month follow up, a mass was discovered on his left kidney. This mass was unrelated to his previous diagnosis and turned out to be a Wilms’ Tumor. It would be the first of 4 more Wilms’ Tumors to affect Alex up until the age of 8. Now, at nearly 17, he is 8 years cancer free and Alex continues to inspire those around him for braving, not one, but two forms of childhood cancer.

Representative for multiple cancers
Children and young adults have a higher risk of second cancers related to treatment with radiation or chemotherapy than older adults have. Younger survivors have more at-risk years for second cancers.
Kayli Hostetler

Kayli has been fighting ganglioneuroblastoma for over 13 years. Now battling her fourth occurrence—stage IV metastatic disease throughout her bones—Kayli is receiving a palliative chemotherapy treatment, intended to prolong her life and ease her symptoms as much as possible. Despite the prognosis and the tiring fight, Kayli continues to inspire those around her with her courage and faith.

Representative for Ganglioneuroblastoma
Ganglioneuroblastoma is a rare intermediate tumor—one that has both malignant and benign cells—that occurs in the nerve tissue and affects 5 out of every 1,000,000 children per year.
Kennedy Anne Snyder

15-year-old Kennedy is described as an “amazing” survivor who makes the most of every day by spending time with her friends and family. When she was just two years old, Kennedy underwent two resections and chemo protocols to fight an astrocytoma in her spine. Now that her disease is considered stable, Kennedy’s wish is “to be healthy and to help others be healthy!”

Representative for Astrocytoma
Low grade astrocytomas, the most common type of brain or spinal tumors, are likely to be found in children. These tumors grow from astrocytes, the glue-like cells that make up the supportive tissue of the brain.
Alyssa Ferguson

Alyssa is a tenderhearted teen who loves to read and has an open heart to see the needs of others. The day after turning 12, her life changed as her battle with medulloblastoma began. After enduring tough treatment, her cancer recurred and she had to start treatment again. Her family is fighting for early detection and cures, because even though kids are strong, cancer robs them of portions of their childhood and their innocence.

Representative for Medulloblastoma
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children.
Jackson Dundon

Jackson was 2.5 years old when his battle with stage IV brain cancer began. Initially given a terminal diagnosis, Jackson received successful treatment and surgery and was declared cancer-free five years later. Now Jackson, a dinosaur lover and avid athlete, can finally pursue his life goal: to run as fast as a cheetah.

Representative for PNET
Primitive neuroectodermal tumors develop from neural crest cells and are most often found in children and young adults under the age of 25.
Brianna Mercado

Brianna’s passion for dance is matched only by her determination to find safer treatment options for cancer patients. Seven years after battling Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 15, Brianna was diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer. Since her doctors have suggested that the radiation she received to treat the Ewing’s Sarcoma may have caused the secondary cancer, Brianna decided to participate in Alex’s Million Mile to shed light on the long-term effects of harsh cancer treatments.

Representative for Ewing’s Sarcoma
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare cancer found in bone or soft tissue which typically affects teenagers and young adults.
Aiden Howard Maul

Aiden is a smart kid who likes baseball, soccer, video games, and hanging with his friends. He is a Wilms’ Warrior, battling Wilms' tumor since age 5. After surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, he was considered cancer free and his family and friends celebrated. Unfortunately he relapsed and underwent two more surgeries, eight more radiation treatments and over 150 doses of chemotherapy – enough to wear out his hero, Ironman.  His little body was battered and bruised from all the treatment, but he just celebrated a year of being cancer free!

Representative for Wilms' Tumor
Wilms' tumor is a pediatric cancer of the kidney. It most often affects children ages 3-4.
Adele White

Adele is clever, silly and super joyful! At almost 4 years old, Adele is a happy and playful little girl who hasn't let her treatment for AT/RT stand in her way of having fun. After enduring brain surgery and almost a year of treatment, she couldn't wait to get back to playing with her brother and sisters. Finding strength in their faith, her family feels blessed that Adele is now able to all the things she loves to do. Adele is one tough cookie and though she'll continue to face long term effects, she brings joy to those around her.

Representative for AT/RT
Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) is a very rare, fast-growing tumor of the brain and spinal cord. It usually occurs in children aged three years and younger, although it can occur in older children and adults.
Haven Olivia Lawson

Haven, diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma at just 3 months, never stopped lighting up the room with her personality and smile. Now 2.5 years old and in remission, Haven—called a “miracle baby” by her doctors—is enjoying Sofia the First and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and hoping to experience a happy, carefree childhood alongside her mom and dad.

Representative for Retinoblastoma
Retinoblastoma is rare tumor that develops from the immature cells of the retina, and almost always affects young children. In bilateral cases, tumors are found in both eyes.
Courtney Deanna Burnette

Courtney was a selfless, kindhearted 9-year-old who loved to play the violin. After braving chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation, Courtney tragically lost her battle with a pontine glioma, an inoperable tumor that grows in the brain stem. Remembering Courtney as a girl who was always quick to share a smile and a laugh, the Burnette family is working toward a world where no child or parent has to suffer due to pediatric cancer.

Representative for DIPG
Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, found in the “pons” area of the brainsteam, account for 10% of all childhood central nervous system tumors. Often, surgery is impossible, as it could cause irreparable damage to the part of the brain that controls movement, breathing, swallowing, blood pressure, heart rate and consciousness.
Mateo "Beast" Cota

 Mateo "The Beast" Cota has such a love for life, that just being around him makes you appreciate yours even more. Just before his second birthday, Mateo, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. But as his nickname suggests, this little guy was not going to take things lying down. He is a fighter! With plenty of love and support from his friends and family- including his three older brothers whom he adores- Mateo was ready to take on his treatment like a champ. Now at nearly 4 years old, he is still undergoing chemotherapy but takes it all in stride and never fails to keep smiling.

Representative for Leukemia
Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells and is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost 1 out of 3 cancers. Most childhood leukemias are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Most of the remaining cases are acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Nicholas DaSilva

After experiencing a biopsy, spinal chemotherapy, blood transfusions, surgery, and eight additional chemo treatments, 7-year-old Nicholas is certainly considered a “trooper.” Nicholas—who loves swimming, sports and the Dallas Cowboys— faced stage 3 Burkitt's lymphoma with a smile, and fought his way into remission after seven months of treatment.

Representative for Burkitt's Lymphoma
Burkitt's lymphoma is the fastest growing human tumor that attacks the lymphatic system, and can only be cured by fast and intensive chemotherapy.
Matthew John Bertucci

Matthew, remembered as a diehard New Orleans Saints fan and an enthusiastic young man, would often tell his doctors: “I know God has still got my back.” After undergoing several weeks of chemotherapy to treat two non-germ cell germinoma tumors on his spine and brain stem, Matthew had a heart attack—one day before he was to begin radiation treatment. Recognizing chemo as the cause of his weakened heart, the Bertucci family hopes for cancer cures that do no further damage to the body.

Representative for Germinoma
Non-germinomatous germ cell tumors secrete chemicals into the spinal fluid and bloodstream. They tend to grow faster, have lower survival rates, and require more aggressive treatment than germinomatous germ cell tumors.
Callahan “Calli” Mae Derstine

Calli was a true lover of life, whose passion for poetry, reading, history, music and nature motivated her to never give up, never complain. Diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma multiforme at age 13, Calli faced spinal cord surgery, 35 brain radiation and full spine radiation treatments, nine months of 96 pills per day, and 32 rounds of IV chemotherapy before her life was tragically cut short at age 15. She is remembered as a talented writer and determined fighter.

Representative for Glioblastoma
Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and aggressive form of malignant brain or spine tumors. With treatment, the median survival is approximately one year.
Ishani Sathianathan

Ishani, a happy and energetic 12-year-old who loves basketball and the San Antonio Spurs, battled rhabdomyosarcoma in her calf at the ages of 3 and 6. During both her initial diagnosis and relapse, Ishani faced surgery, a year of chemotherapy, transfusions and four weeks of radiation. Today, Ishani is cancer-free, five years off treatment and living life to the fullest.

Representative for Rhabdomyosarcoma
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a tumor that occurs in striated muscle tissue and is made up of cells that typically develop into skeletal muscles. It is most commonly found in children ages 1-5.
Madeline Hull

Madeline—a brave 10-year-old who loves to swim and sing—wants all children to have the chance to “be kids” and live long, healthy lives. Diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma in 2013, Madeline endured multiple surgeries before her scans showed no evidence of disease. Now, she hopes to raise funds for research and treatment so that all children with brain tumors have a better chance of survival.

Representative for Ependymoma
Ependymoma: the third most common type of brain or spinal tumor. Anaplastic ependymomas are considered high-grade, as they tend to grow faster than other tumors of the like.
Ava Rich

Ava, a creative, sweet 11-year-old whose favorite activities include gymnastics and swimming, took her last dose of chemotherapy on July 23, 2015 after battling lymphoblastic lymphoma for 2.5 years. Her goal for this September is to share the importance of finding safer treatments, and to show support for all patients who feel lonely and isolated in their fight against childhood cancer.

Representative for Lymphoblastic Lymphoma
A relatively rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lymphoblastic lymphoma primarily affects children and teenagers under the age of 35. Intensive chemotherapy is the only known treatment.
Antonio “Tony” Salerno

Diagnosed with stage IV, high-risk neuroblastoma at 2.5 years old, Tony braved chemotherapy, surgery, tandem stem cell transplants, spot radiation, and total body radiation until he was declared N.E.D. in 2007. Now a sixth grader, Tony is able to enjoy camping with his Boy Scout troop, riding rollercoasters, swimming, and playing video games—all while hoping for less toxic treatments and, ultimately, cancer cures.

Representative for Neuroblastoma
Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells. Nearly half of cases occur in children under two.
Samantha Hill

Samantha is a happy 10-year old who loves to play soccer and read and dreams of being a pediatric oncologist.

Samantha was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma when she was only 6 months old. She went through six rounds of chemotherapy and liver resection. Since many of the treatments for childhood cancer cause lifelong side effects, Samantha’s family is participating in Alex’s Million Mile to help find safer, better treatments.

Representative for Hepatoblastoma
Hepatoblastoma is the most common form of liver cancer in children, though is considered rare. The disease usually affects children younger than 3 years of age.