Emily "Emma" Whitehead :: My Journey Fighting Leukemia » My journey fighting childhood cancer.

Speaking at Penn in Philadelphia

Photo: Tom, Kari and Emily in the new space at the Perelmen Center for Advanced Medicine beside a wall display highlighting the team of doctors and researchers who work on the T-cell clinical trial. Emily has always really liked the photo of the cells right above the doctors!

A few weeks ago we spent the day in Philadelphia at Penn to speak at the Abramson Cancer Center Director’s Leadership Council meeting. We had a chance to talk with a few of the extraordinary people who helped to fund the T-cell research that saved Emily’s life. Some provided private funding or endowments for the research very early on when no one else believed in the research. They all mentioned that after talking with Dr. June that they just believed in him and believed his research would save lives. It was an honor to speak to this group who supported the research from the beginning. Without them, Emily would not be here. One person came to me and told me that her brother passed away from leukemia 23 years ago. The day after she started an endowment fund and has since been providing funding for cancer research. She said  she has been waiting 23 years to hear a success story like Emily. It made us realize the importance of sharing Emily’s story so that we can do our small part to raise awareness, and hopefully the needed funding, for pediatric cancer research. We also got to see the new (bigger) lab space where they are modifying the T-cells. After that, we went to visit Avrey and her family. Avrey is 10-years old and recently recently received her T-cells (you can follow her Facebook page Pray for Avrey Walker). She needs a miracle too.

After that, we visited the Penn Museum because Emily heard that there were mummies there – but after seeing the mummies she said they were a little “creepy”. It was a really wonderful day!

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