Each month, the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium highlights the stories and contributions of patient families, clinicians and researchers in “Collaborative Corner” to find cures for pediatric brain tumors. If you would like to share your story as a guest blogger, please email email@example.com
By Nicole Giroux, Executive Director, The Lilabean Foundation for Pediatric Brain Cancer Research
I have been thinking about the concept of collaboration as it relates to the cancer journey. When I stop to think about it, cancer requires a lot of collaboration.
Our doctors collaborate. When a person is diagnosed, there is often collaboration among doctors and specialists on the specifics of the diagnosis and then on the best line of treatment. The doctors then collaborate with the person and their family on this logistics of the treatment plan.
Our family collaborates. Once there is a diagnosis and treatment plan in place, we collaborate with our family- how will we support each other and manage day-to-day responsibilities? How will we pull together to get through this difficult time? Everyone processes a cancer diagnosis differently — some are drawn to taking action and gathering information, some are angry, others become paralyzed with sadness and despair. This is a time when we have never needed more collaboration in our family.
Our communities collaborate. Schools, churches and neighbors collaborate on how best to support the patient and the caregivers. Meals, carpools, play dates, prayers, other acts of service and so much more.
Our medical team collaborates. Each surgery, chemotherapy and radiation session requires collaboration amongst the surgeons, nurses, doctors, labs, radiologists and pharmacies.
The post-treatment team collaborates. If we are blessed to be on the other side of treatment(s), the collaboration continues- between specialists, OT, PT, learning specialists, teachers, our team of doctors, our families, our communities and so much more. In addition to many of the things we were managing before, we are now also juggling our “new normal” and all the changes and side affects that have become part of our lives. Collaboration is in full swing.
And it goes on and on.
At the Lilabean Foundation, one of our 4 strategic goals is collaboration. Specifically to “collaborate with other like-minded organizations and campaigns to amplify our impact.” We could have never made it through Lila’s cancer journey without the collaboration efforts of so many. Making an impact in finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer is no different. We are better together. We are stronger together.
We are grateful to be part of the CBTTC knowing that we are supporting the work of not just one hospital, but 17 hospitals. Knowing that the funds we donate to the CBBTC are going to help fund research that is shared and may impact the treatment of a child across the country or maybe even in another country all together.
Certainly anyone who has or has had a child with cancer would agree that they could care less who finds a cure or a new treatment option. We just want them to have the resources they need to do it.
Alone, any one person, family, doctor, community or researcher can only do so much. Together we will make an impact. Collaboration is integral to this journey along each of its stages.