KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children’s Mercy Hospital is celebrating the lives of kids who survived cancer. More than 200 kids were reunited with other cancer survivors and the staff at the hospital on Saturday.
An oncologist at Children’s Mercy says every year the hospital sees 160 new patients diagnosed with cancer. The good news, we’re told is that 80 percent of kids diagnosed with cancer live to become adults.
One of those patients is 19-year-old Ashley Dado. Dado was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was 10-years-old. Now, nine years later and cancer free, she is studying to become a nurse. She says dealing with the side effect from cancer treatment hasn’t been easy.
“I have hair loss from the chemotherapy and radiation and I have a little bit of hearing loss in both ears,” she said.
Noah Sanchez is an 11-year-old brain cancer survivor. Like Ashley Dado, he beat cancer but suffered hearing loss.
“After his first brain surgery he lost speak and he was a quadriplegic and he was in a wheelchair for almost two years and basically he had to regain learning how to eat, how to speak, how to walk, how to talk all those kinds of things,” Sanchez’s dad said.
Parents say they would rather deal with the new challenges cancer has left the kids with as opposed to the alternative which is not having them around. In fact, some of them still have a hard time believing the journey cancer has taken them on. Most of them say they will never forget receiving the horrifying news.
“There’s really no words to explain it basically your world just like stops. Your heart sinks and you immediately start going to the worst case scenario that you can lose them,” said Sanchez.
“That initial shock is very scary, you hear cancer and I think the first thought that most people have is that their child is going to die,” said Dr. Richard Shore with Children’s Mercy Hospital.
Dr. Shore is an oncologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital. The doctor says more and more kids are surviving cancer. In fact, according to the hospital, 270,000 people in the United States are childhood cancer survivors.
“Part of what we’re doing is one, saying it’s okay to talk about it and two, that there are resources available and our focus then is great, you now survived this now let us help you be contributing adults,” said Dr. Shore.
The celebration is just one of many ways the hospital helps kids who have survived cancer continue to thrive. The Survive and Thrive Program at Children’s Mercy Hospital is in its third year.