A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Archive for July, 2012

Hope Tour at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

“Oh my gosh. My heart pounded. I could not believe what was happening to me. After suffering so much, I almost felt it was too good to be true, like I didn’t deserve it or anything. My mouth hung open, my breathing was awkward, and my face was hot and red from crying. I lost it—completely lost it. Burying my head in my arms, I cried so hard that it hurt. Never had anything touched me in such a way. To hear encouragement to keep fighting from someone who I admired was breathtakingly unimaginable.”          

Copyright/Melinda Marchiano

After a morning that began with meeting Dr. Sanders and then Dr. Hartwell, how could my thirteenth day of the Hope Tour encompass even more excitement? It could, and it did!

Mom, Meredith, and I left Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and headed for Seattle Children’s Hospital in a light rain that ended before we hopped out of our car at the hospital. Dr. Molly Martyn met us with a warm welcome and led us to a conference room where everything was ready for my presentation. 

Dr. Molly Martyn, Chief Pediatric Resident at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Before I spoke with the residents, we all enjoyed a delicious lunch, thanks to Jayson Levich and Panera Bread in Seattle! Panera Bread has been unbelievably supportive of my Make-A-Wish, and I thank the company and the employees!

Thank you to Panera Bread for supporting Make-A-Wish and the residents at Seattle Children’s Hospital

This was the very first opportunity I have had to speak with a room full of residents. Some of them were at the end of their residency and some were at the very beginning. My time with them was filled with meaning. Their questions showed a true concern for understanding their patients so that they could better care for them. I am grateful to Dr. Molly Martyn, and to Meredith and Make-A-Wish, for this opportunity to share insight that will hopefully lead to better care for children with cancer.

Speaking with residents at Seattle Children’s Hospital

After speaking and signing books for the residents, their Child Life Specialist, Austin, gave me a tour through pediatrics. We suited up in our finest yellow garments to visit Jenna, a cheerful, lovable girl who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant. I loved the signs on the walls of her room… my favorite… “Jenna Rocks!”

Child Life Specialist, Austin, at Seattle Children’s Hospital

 I was able to visit a couple of other children while I was there. Childhood cancer is moment to moment, so I never know until I walk in the door of a hospital if there will be children there who are up for a visit. I… of all people… understand this. I was very happy to meet all of the children I met this day, and I want to share about one more very special boy and his mama that we met. Duncan really did grab my heart and take it away with him! Mom and I talked with Duncan and his mom about love and about faith. It was just minutes of time together, but the heartfelt memories will last forever. Duncan and his mom taught me about love, about life.

Duncan Stole My Heart

As we left the hospital, it was time to say good-bye to Amazing Make-A-Wish Meredith. This was very, very hard to do; Mom and I wanted to pack her up in HerbertTheHopeMobile and bring her along for more Hope Tour adventures. It’s hard to say bye to someone who has given your life experiences that you have only dreamed of. It’s hard to say bye to someone who has worked her tail off out of the love in her heart. I miss you already, Meredith! Thank you, and thank you to your entire office at Make-A-Wish Alaska/Washington for making my time in Seattle unforgettable.

Bye Meredith!

 Thank you for cooking up a huge batch of Hope while I was there in Seattle!

Day 13 Part II Hope Tour Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO0i3V0twZ8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Hope Tour Receives Hope from Dr. Lee Hartwell

Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recove

Will someone please find a cure for cancer? Will someone please discover the cause for childhood cancers? 

Meeting Dr. Lee Hartwell on the Hope Tour at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was a time that filled me with hope! I won’t ever forget thinking about how much time and how much hard work this incredible man has put into his life work. I will always be inspired– for the rest of my life– from my gift of time with him.

From Wikepedia

“Leland Harrison (Lee) Hartwell (born October 30, 1939, in Los AngelesCalifornia) is former president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Paul Nurse and R. Timothy Hunt, for their discoveries of protein molecules that control the division (duplication) of cells.
When cells with nuclei divide, they divide in phases called G1 (growth), S (synthesis), G2 (growth), and M (mitosis). Nurse, Hartwell and Hunt together discovered two proteins, cyclin and CDK (cyclin dependent kinase), that control the transition from one stage to another. These proteins are called checkpoints, because they check whether the cell has divided properly. If the cell doesn’t divide correctly, other proteins will attempt to repair it, and if unsuccessful, they will destroy the cell. If a cell divides incorrectly and survives, it can cause cancer and other serious diseases.
Working in yeast, Hartwell identified the fundamental role of checkpoints in cell cycle control, and CDC genes such as CDC28, which controls the start of the cycle — the progression through G1.

Dr. Lee Hartwell!

Time with Dr. Lee Hartwell–

It was no everyday conversation… it used common words in an uncommon way.  I sat across the small conference table from Dr. Lee Hartwell.  His humble demeanor and heartfelt warmth somewhat disguised the fact that he is an extremely highly respected researcher and Nobel Laureate.  However, his brilliance and deep, careful thoughts revealed just why he is so highly noted.  He is a man whose gentle, yet strong, presence I felt from the moment he walked through the sliding doors at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  It was in a small conference room where I received the honor of talking with him for about 45 minutes. 

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Dr. Lee Hartwell

I was in awe to be speaking with a man of such wisdom, humility, and yes, grace.  Starting off with genuine words about my book, Dr. Hartwell explained how much it meant to him and how it had impacted his current thinking.  Wow….to influence someone of the caliber at which he thinks is truly a remarkable privilege.  After a short time, the conversation shifted.  I couldn’t resist asking him about his research, which I had read about in detail the night prior.  I was curious about what the accomplishments in his studies meant to him personally.  I was enlightened and inspired by his reply.  He talked about the joy of “getting lost in the woods”…that is, the journey of his life and research as opposed to an end goal. 

I thought of my cancer journey, my future, and it all clicked.  The joy of traveling, not reaching….the joy of discovering, not knowing….the joy of wandering in the “woods” and loving every second of it.  I left that room spiritually encouraged, excited, and inspired.  I will have Dr. Hartwell’s tender, wise words with me always.

Hope Tour Day 13 Video Part I

Loving our time in Seattle on my Make-A-Wish Hope Tour!

 

Rewinding the Hope Tour to Day 9: Make-A-Wish Surprises in Seattle

Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“No vision and you perish; No Ideal, and you’re lost; Your heart must ever cherish some faith at any cost. Some hope, some dream to cling to, some rainbow in the sky, some melody to sing to, some service that is high.”

Harriet Du Autermont

Herbert the HopeMobile has arrived back in Nipomo after traveling 4, 260 miles around the Western United States. So much was “packed” into the 28 days of my Make-A-Wish Children’s Hospitals Hope Tour that it was impossible to share it along the way. It looks like I left off in Seattle, so I will rewind!

I want to begin with thanking Make-A-Wish AK/WA and Meredith…

Meredith at Make-A-Wish Alaska/Washington

How can I ever thank Meredith and everyone at the MAW AK/WA office? My week in Seattle was filled with opportunities to bring awareness for childhood cancer and HOPE for kids who are fighting. It means the world to me that Make-A-Wish understood my wish; they did everything and more to make it come true! After a tour of the Seattle office, Meredith surprised me!!!

Make-A-Wish AK/WA surprises Melinda!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKw21slTyzQ&feature=youtu.be

Meredith and Make-A-Wish kept surprising me all week long! 

Make-A-Wish AK/WA Surprise

The surprises included visits with Dr. Sangeeta Hingorani and Dr. Jean Sanders.

With Dr. Jean Sanders

Dr. Jean Sanders

I have a hard time finding the words to explain what it meant to me to be able to speak with Dr. Sanders. It was just hours before her retirement party, but she made time to speak with me, “the Make-A-Wish girl who wants to be a doctor like you!” I feel exactly the same about my time with Dr. Hingorani. I feel fortunate, and I feel blessed, to have spent time with each of them. I wish I could just take one deeeeeeeeeeeep breath and inhale all of their wisdom and knowledge so I could use it to slay the childhood cancer monster. Believe me, I tried! In all sincerity, my time with them made me even more determined about my future. My time with them inspires me to work hard. Again, without the hard work of Meredith, and Make-A-Wish, this would not have happened!

It’s true. I am not going to lie. The Hope Tour set out to bring hope to others, but everywhere we went, we found hope.

I look forward to sharing more about the Hope Tour…

Dr. Hingorani

Thank you to Sheraton in Bellevue, WA, and to Hyatt at Olive & 8th for supporting Make-A-Wish!

Making New Friends at the Sheraton in Bellvue, WA

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