Funding pediatric cancer research and clinical trials to find less toxic, more effective treatments for childhood cancer; Our Sunshine Network of nationwide hospitals aims to reduce the side effects of current treatments and improve survival rates.
Success StoryCasey Siljestrom grew up in Sarasota, Florida where she spent her days dreaming of becoming a veterinarian. However, after her 18th birthday, things changed. Casey was diagnosed with stage 3 extraosseous Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of pediatric bone cancer. Casey's cancer was found outside the bone which is even more rare. Her treatment protocol had recently come out of clinical trial and was aggressive but Casey and her family were excited about it.College wasn't the typical "fun" experience for Casey. She just wanted to get through it.She met her husband Colby and with huge support from her family, Colby, and the new treatment, Casey beat cancer and overcame all obstacles to achieve her life-long dream. After 20 years of dreaming, she graduated from veterinary school, her dream since she was four years old. "When I was in chemo, I would literally spend the whole day visualizing what I wanted to do if I did survive and the biggest thing I was afraid of missing out on was being a vet. This is a huge deal for me."Aside from accomplishing her veterinarian dream, Casey had her biggest, or rather "littlest," miracle of all. She gave birth to her son Levi. "People would always ask me if I was afraid of dying or afraid I wasn't going to get to do all the things I wanted to do. Honestly I was never afraid of dying. I was afraid of not having a family." Her doctors have said that she may be the only Ewing Sarcoma survivor to have given birth to a healthy and happy baby."I am incredibly lucky to have survived. A huge part of that is the fact that someone raised money to perform research and go through clinical trials with a new approach and I'm the outcome of that."