25 years of treating childhood cancer

25 year anniversary of Spectrum Health's Pediatric Oncology divison

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) September is Children Cancer Awareness Month, a time to honor and remember children and their families affected by cancer. It’s also a time to rally support for programs that help them through the cancer journey. The Pediatric Hematology and Oncology division at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is celebrating 25 years of helping children with cancer.

Twenty-five years ago, a new diagnosis often meant a family was uprooted and sent across the state or even to another part of the country to get treatment. Now they can get that treatment right in Grand Rapids. Cure rates for childhood cancer have also gone up from 25-30% to 90-95%.

The Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has more than 9,000 outpatient clinic visits per year and has 60 kids enrolled in clinical trials per year.

The Pediatric Cancer Program offers inpatient and outpatient care, blood, bone marrow, and stem cell transplant programs, a Pediatric Oncology Resource Team, after care and transition programs, and multidisciplinary clinics for children.

To mark September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is hosting a live chat with pediatric specialists. It’s from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, September 25. Dr. James Fahner, Dr. Beth Kurt, and Dr. Deanna Mitchell will talk about children’s cancer journeys and answer questions. Go to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s Facebook page for information.

On Saturday, September 27 is “Hug the Hospital” at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. People will gather around the hospital to give it a “hug” at 10:30 a.m., with a reception following. Parking is available in Ramp 3.

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