Cancer and Blood Disorders

All Articles in the Category ‘Cancer and Blood Disorders’

Blessing the Seattle Children’s Story Pole

On June 1, 2022, Seattle Children’s opened the doors to our new Forest B building – the latest addition to the Seattle Children’s hospital campus.

When Seattle Children’s began planning for the Forest B building 10 years ago, we wanted to formally recognize that the hospital is located on the traditional land of the Coast Salish people through an art installation in the lobby. We sought out an artist with a deep understanding of the Pacific Northwest and a whimsical style that patients and families could connect with. We were lucky to find Shaun “Qwalsius” Peterson, who has been creating public art inspired by the Puyallup people’s heritage and the greater Pacific Northwest region for more than 20 years. Qwalsius designed, carved and erected a Story Pole in the Forest B lobby that will now be enjoyed by all the patients, families and workforce members who walk through our doors for decades to come. Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Opens New “Forest B” Building

New “Forest B” Building Features More In-Patient and Operating Rooms, Cancer and Blood Disorders Care Facilities and more

On June 1st, Seattle Children’s opens the latest addition to the hospital campus — a building called “Forest B.”  Forest B is a project over 10 years in the making and will add an additional 310,000 square feet of space to the hospital campus.  

“Forest B is a critical addition to Seattle Children’s, given our region’s incredible historic and anticipated growth,” said Mandy Hansen, senior director of planning, design, and construction at Seattle Children’s. “The building gives our care teams the space they need to provide lifesaving and life-changing treatments, surgeries and procedures to even more patients in the coming years. The thoughtful design will also help us integrate more of our breakthrough research into the clinical care environment as we tirelessly work toward cures.”  Read full post »

Finding Myself at Seattle Children’s

Amna and her family moved to Seattle to get the best treatment possible for her daughter Jude, who has sickle cell disease. This is Amna’s story in her own words. 

I will never forget the moment I learned I was pregnant with my daughter, Jude. I had moved from Sudan to join my husband, Amar, in the United States the year before. In my culture, we have big families with lots of kids, and Amar and I wanted to start our own family right away.

It took a long time for me to get pregnant, but when I finally did, I felt like I was flying! I named my baby Jude that day. In Arabic, it means “the gift.” She was my gift from God.

Back then, I never imagined my baby’s life would be at risk before she reached her first birthday.

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On Black Futures Month, a Race Against Sickle Cell and a Chance for Healing

A woman smiling and looking at the camera

Sarita Wall is the vice chair of the Black and African Heritage Network

Sarita Wall started working at Seattle Children’s in summer 2019, and she knew immediately that she wanted to volunteer at her new organization to get involved with her new work community.

“I wanted to do something meaningful and be around people who share some of the same experiences and who look like me,” said Wall, who is an executive assistant at the Neurosciences Center.

She joined the Black and African Heritage Network and met the leaders of that inclusion network, or employee resource group, including Shakema Magee, the chair of the group. Wall said BAHN was “very involved in the Black community within Seattle Children’s,” which she appreciated.

Wall is now the vice chair of BAHN. Among other activities, BAHN coordinates the Annual Walk Run for Sickle Cell, which raises awareness and educates people about the disease. It also helps create a sense of community around sickle cell. The event was canceled for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Seattle Children’s Welcomes Dr. Mignon Loh to Lead Cancer and Blood Disorders Care and Research

Last year, if you had told Dr. Mignon Loh that she would soon become the leader of cancer care and research at Seattle Children’s, no one would have been more surprised than her. As chief of pediatric oncology at the University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospitals, she was caring for children with cancer and leading breakthrough research at one of the world’s most renowned medical institutions. Then Seattle Children’s contacted her and outlined our vision – and we were thrilled that it immediately caught her attention.

“I wasn’t looking to leave UCSF, but I was intrigued because Seattle Children’s was thinking big,” Loh said. “They were committed to building innovative facilities to augment their research footprint, they wanted to reimagine wet and dry bench research as part of their alliance with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, and they were clearly on a mission to improve cancer and blood diseases care for children worldwide. The opportunity was too good to pass up.”

We’re ecstatic that Loh joined Seattle Children’s in December, and is leading the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and directing the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She is also division chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy at the University of Washington School of Medicine and heads the Section of Pediatric Oncology at Fred Hutch.

“Seattle Children’s has an amazing history, and their immunotherapy work is groundbreaking,” Loh said. “I’m excited to build on that and make an even bigger difference for the kids who are afflicted with blood diseases and cancers who need better treatments and cures.” Read full post »

Seattle Children’s Research Division: Celebrating 15 Years of Innovation

For the past 15 years, Seattle Children’s Research Division has been at the forefront of breakthrough innovations. From new drugs to treat cystic fibrosis, to first-in-the-nation use of laser ablation for epilepsy and brain tumors to remove unwanted cells, the research division is advancing our mission to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.

Here, we take a look at some of the achievements of the past decade-and-a-half.

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Turning 3 and Cancer Free

There may be no better way for a 3-year-old to celebrate cancer remission than with a Frozen-themed birthday party. That’s exactly what Penny Hatch and her family did last weekend.

Penny was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a solid-tumor cancer with a survival rate of about 50%, three months after her baby brother, William, was born with a life-threatening heart condition. Today, William is thriving at home and Penny is in remission.

Penny’s final immunotherapy treatment was on Sept. 2 after a year of treatments that included surgery, chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, radiation, and immunotherapy which stimulates the immune system to fight diseases.

Samantha, Penny’s mom, was overwhelmed with emotions when she squirted the final immunotherapy drug dose into her daughter’s mouth. “It felt like I was finally allowed to feel the weight of everything we’ve been through.”

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“So Much to Be Thankful For”: A Year In the Life of the Hatch Family Part Two

Two weeks before their 3-month-old son was scheduled for his second open-heart surgery, Kyle and Samantha Hatch were told their daughter likely had neuroblastoma.

Things are looking up for the Hatch family. William (left) celebrated his first birthday in May — a major milestone for children with his heart condition. While Penny still has a few months of neuroblastoma treatment, her hair is growing back and her nasogastric (NG) tube is out. Still, getting to this point has not been easy.

“We were utterly broken,” Samantha said. “But we had to pull it together for our children.”

After Penny’s tumor was discovered on her MRI, she needed a biopsy to definitively diagnose what providers suspected was cancer.

On August 11, 2020, Penny walked into Seattle Children’s hospital for the procedure. It was the last time Samantha and Kyle saw their daughter walk.

After a tumor sample was collected, Penny was discharged. But at home, Samantha said her daughter started screaming in agony. “She couldn’t stand and was in unbearable pain. I thought, ‘This isn’t normal. We’re going back in.’”

Penny was quickly readmitted to Seattle Children’s for pain management. Watching Kyle hold her in the hospital, Samantha noticed Penny was kicking her left leg while her right leg hung limp.

“It was terrifying,” Samantha said. “She couldn’t move it.”

The biopsy caused Penny’s tumor to swell and press against the nerves in her spinal cord, paralyzing her right leg. To make matters worse, the biopsy confirmed Penny did, in fact, have high-risk neuroblastoma. Read full post »

A Son With a Heart Condition, a Daughter With Cancer: A Year in the Life of the Hatch Family Part One

Kyle Hatch holds baby William, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (left). Three months later, Penny (pictured with her mom, Samantha) was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

Who are your heroes? Are they exceptionally talented? Do they have superhuman abilities? Are they destined for greatness?

Or, are they ordinary people who face tremendous challenges and persevere out of love?

Kyle and Samantha Hatch undoubtedly fall in the latter category. In the past year, one of their twin sons was born with a life-threatening heart defect. Three months later, their 18-month-old daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. And all of this happened during a global pandemic.

“We often talk about literary heroes, people who face adversity even when they’re unprepared,” Kyle Hatch said. “That’s what makes them brave, and that’s why our kids are some of the bravest people we know.” Read full post »

Building Cure Takes the First Step Toward Living up to Its Name

In March 2021, Harper Chittim became the first patient to receive a cell therapy product manufactured at Building Cure.

Building Cure and Seattle Children’s Therapeutics are devoted to developing innovative therapies for childhood disease. Meet the first patient to receive a cell therapy treatment produced at Building Cure.

When Building Cure opened in fall 2019, Meagan Hollingshead and Josh Chittim had more pressing concerns. Their normally energetic 6-month-old daughter Harper was sick, and multiple visits to their doctor in Yakima had provided no answers.

But when Harper’s condition worsened and she started struggling to breathe, they took her to the emergency room, where bloodwork revealed the devastating cause: Harper had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

The doctor immediately sent them to Seattle Children’s.

“Meagan and Harper flew over to Seattle Children’s,” Chittim said. “And I drove there at 110 miles an hour.”

At that point, Hollingshead and Chittim weren’t aware Building Cure existed. They didn’t know how important the building, and the Seattle Children’s Therapeutics team it houses, would become to Harper’s future. And they had no idea Harper would receive the first cell therapy product manufactured there. Read full post »