Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gold Ribbon Night

Katie with Dr. Pollard (left) and Dr. Gardner (right)
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual Gold Ribbon Night for Pediatric Cancer Awareness, put on by Seattle Children's Hospital and Research Foundation. It was held in a beautiful private golf club in Seattle which is called "Broadmoor."

(Whenever I hear that name, I think, "detained during His Majesty's Broadmoor Asylum"* in England. I wonder if the founders of the exclusive club and gated community in Seattle had any idea about the name's "other" meaning...) 

Anyway, last night's event was a warm, elegant, yet informal affair, filled with passionate advocates of pediatric cancer research and the local clinicians we support, who are doing fantastic work in the field. It was delightful to mingle with friends, acquaintances and familiar doctors, nurses and researchers, sharing news and memories.

The program was led by our friend Jeff Towne, co-founder of the Ben Towne Foundation, and moderated by Dr. Bruder Stapleton (one of my personal favorites in the administration of the hospital). The panel consisted of three researchers who are doing ground-breaking work in different areas of pediatric cancer (two of whom - Dr. Rebecca Gardner and Dr. Doug Hawkins - took care of Katie) and a parent-advocate. They answered questions, and shared their thoughts about their current projects and personal research goals.

We watched this video, which tells the story of one of the patients recently cured by T-cell therapy at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research in Seattle. Please take a few minutes to watch - it will inspire you!

One of the highlights of the evening, for me, was sitting with Dr. Julie Park (Katie's primary oncologist) and our friend Charlotte, who was my "date" for the evening, and sharing in a heartfelt discussion with them after the panel program ended.
Another highlight was returning home and checking my messages to find that yet another patient has been cured by T-cell therapy here in Seattle. That is the 11th patient cured, as far as I know!

And today, even more wonderful news: an immunotherapeutic clinical trial is has just opened, under Dr. Park's leadership, for pediatric patients with neuroblastoma. This awful solid tumor has a horrific treatment regimen and a dismal survival rate, but now, there is a new way to treat it - using the knowledge gained from the successes in Dr. Jensen's T-cell therapy trials. This is the cancer from which Ben Towne suffered and died, so it is particularly meaningful to have this clinical trial at the BTCCCR.

If you would like to know how you can get involved in this important work, which will also benefit adult cancer research, please leave a comment here and I will reply privately

*quoted from A System of Medicine, Volume 8, edited by Thomas Clifford Allbutt, Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen! I'd love to hear more about this. Let me know if you don't have my email and I'll send you a message with it. Janna Hendrickson

Anonymous said...

Always thankful for your partnership! Sorry I missed you! Love, Carin xoxo

Karen Gerstenberger said...

I'll email you Janna!

Karen Gerstenberger said...

We missed you, Carin, but Jeff did a great job! Xoxo

Daisy said...

Hey there Karen! Thanks for sharing this. What a happy turn-around in the video! I first heard of T-cell therapy here a couple of years ago. It's wonderful this work continues.