A “shavee” at Rush’s 2013 event to raise money for pediatric cancer research. The 2014 event is scheduled for Feb. 28.
By Joseph Lee
In the United States, a child under the age of 20 is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. So in the time it takes to read this piece, a family will be faced with the very real possibility of losing their child, as there are many cancers where progress towards a cure is still very limited. And even those that are cured of their cancer, their battle continues with chronic health problems or other life-threatening conditions.
While the government and foundations continue to invest in adult cancer research, childhood cancers are left to fend for themselves. In fact, all types of childhood cancers receive only 4 percent of the total U.S. federal funding for cancer research, with pharmaceutical companies investing even less.
So the question becomes if not us, then who? If not now, then when? Should we wait until more children are stripped of the opportunity to go to school or fall in love? Or ask more parents to stay strong while their children go through grueling treatments or are lost altogether?
This is where St. Baldrick’s comes into play. Through the help of dedicated physicians, such as Dr. Paul Kent, students, families, friends, patients and survivors, we seek to close the funding gap. Through events across the country, with head shaving being the premier event, over $30 million was raised in 2013.
For her first five months, Ivy lived in the neonatal intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Center until she could undergo surgery for a congenital heart defect.
“Rush has changed our life,” father Tony Cavalea says, “because we have a baby who wouldn’t have made it otherwise.”
By Sundeep Singh Randhawa
I am a first-year child and adolescent psychiatry fellow here at Rush. My first rotation here was on the inpatient unit where we work with children from ages 7 to 18 going through acute impairments, including depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts and behavioral disturbances. They spend an average of four to seven days in the inpatient unit, where they work on improving their coping skills, way of life, self-esteem and assertiveness, along with many other aspects of day-to-day living.
My role in working with them is to get to know them on an emotional/therapeutic level and then help guide treatment that is most conducive to them. These kids come from all walks of life, and connecting to them can be a difficult task. I would consistently find that many would use an artistic outlet of one form or another to help them cope during stressful times. This would include anything from music, drawing, photography and reading to painting.
By Anne Millheiser
I am very proud of the fact that Rush has two patient and family resource centers on our campus. I believe this speaks to how important the patient and visitor experience is here and how we want to support our patients and visitors both physically, as well as emotionally. I feel lucky to be a part of enhancing visitor experience through managing these centers.
I have found that visitors are often drawn to both of our centers because they are quiet, comfortable spaces, amidst the often hectic hospital environment. Upon entering the centers, visitors are greeted by a social worker and are often surprised to learn that the centers offer more than just a space to relax.
The resource centers offer information on Rush services, community support, health and wellness topics and the latest research happening at Rush. Additionally, the resource center staff is available to listen to visitors, who at times need to talk about the difficult emotions that they may be experiencing due to changes in their own health or the health of someone close to them.
If it’s the holiday season at Rush, it must be time to dig into the Rush Archives for photos from Decembers past.
This image from 1939 shows Santa visiting a 9-year-old boy who had to spend Christmas at Presbyterian Hospital (which would later become part of Rush).
“The suit worn by this jolly-looking St. Nick,” says the caption in the Presbyterian Hospital Bulletin, ”has been worn here every Christmas for more than 50 years.”