I would like to share a little bit about my daughter, Christina (age 9), who was diagnosed with an Astrocytoma tumor in her spinal cord in 2014. The tumor was approximately 5cm tall and 2cm wide – officially it ranged from the T9 to the L1 in her column. It was labeled as “mixed,” exhibiting both benign and malignant features. She had a nine-hour surgery to remove it, but unfortunately, the surgeons weren’t able to get it all as the bottom portion of the tumor was infiltrating her cord.
We are fortunate to be at MassGeneral Hospital (MGH) since they are one of only two hospitals in the world with a proton-based radiation machine. This technology allows healthcare professionals to focus the radiation energy within millimeters of the target, drastically reducing the risk of harming anything surrounding the tumor. Due to Christina’s age, radiation won’t be performed on her until she’s in her early teens. In the meantime, she is undergoing chemotherapy and has had a second surgery to implant a port under her skin in order to administer the treatment.
Since 1998, in partnership with John Hancock Financial, the MGH Marathon Team has raised nearly $11M to support the pediatric hematology-oncology program at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Funds raised are directed toward cancer care and research initiatives that enhance the quality of life for the hospital’s youngest cancer patients.
The MGH Marathon Team is centered on the Marathon Patient-Partner Program, in which runners are paired with patients undergoing cancer treatment at MGH. When the runners set out on Boston’s grueling 26.2-mile course, they not only raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research, they inspire and bring hope, especially for us. Christina and our whole family will be cheering on our runner – who is a survivor, having been diagnosed with a similar tumor as Christina’s at age 4 – and the whole MGH team. Click here for an article on the runner who Christina is matched with; her story is inspirational and she brings an abundance of optimism to us, in addition to being someone whom Christina can look up to.
Working as an Accountant for Goddard, I’m always intrigued to hear about the variety of products that we design and how they are engineered – especially when it comes to the many medical devices that the company works on. This exposure continuously widens my breadth of knowledge. Through Goddard and our experiences over at MGH combined with Christina’s dad being an R&D engineer who also brings medical devices to life, I’m constantly gaining new information and better understanding that I’m able to impart upon my family.
If you are interested in supporting the MGH Marathon Team, you can donate now by clicking here to sponsor Christina’s runner.
-Tara Colameta, Accountant