Cure 4 The Kids Foundation has received its largest private donation to date from the principals of Storybook Homes, Wayne and Catherine Laska, who have pledged $500,000 to support the Long-Term Follow-Up (LTFU) Clinic for Childhood Cancer Survivors, the state’s only clinic that specifically addresses the ongoing medical needs of survivors, including late-effects from treatment, as they grow older.
Late-effects from childhood cancer treatment can be physical or emotional changes that will affect many survivors for years to come.
In recognition of this generous donation, the clinic will be re-named the Storybook Homes Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic for Childhood Cancer Survivors.
The Laskas became aware of “late-effects” after their son, Collin, survived a Wilms’ tumor cancer diagnosis. Although at the time of diagnosis his chances of surviving the advanced state of this cancer were originally in the single digits, he overcame it. The treatments he went through, however, do pose “late-effects” for Collin.
“It is so unfortunate when a child is diagnosed with cancer. Our whole family went through it together with Collin. Most marriages don’t survive their traumatic experiences, but ours did,” said Wayne and Catherine Laska. “We are fortunate to have the financial resources to give back to the community that has been so good to us. Our hope is that this donation can help other families deal with the late-effects of the trauma from the illness.”
The LTFU not only monitors the health of these survivors to ensure they stay healthy, but also educates them and their families on specific risks from “late-effects”, so the survivor is aware and can participate in their own health. Risks are typically based on the specific chemotherapy, radiation or surgery a patient underwent during cancer treatment, as well as their age and gender.
“The Laskas know firsthand how extremely difficult this journey has been which makes this incredible donation even more impactful,” said Annette Logan, Cure 4 The Kids Foundation CEO. “Only those families who have been through childhood cancer understand that once the fight with the disease is over, there can be new battles as a result of treatments. Patients and families need support to anticipate, fully understand and cope with their futures. This donation helps us provide these services to all LTFU patients, including those without medical insurance and those unable to pay for treatment.”
All patients of the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic for Childhood Cancer Survivors undergo a comprehensive exam and are seen by Lead Physician Waseem Alhushki, M.D., a board-certified pediatric hematology oncology provider. Dr. Waseem will review the specific cancer treatments experienced by each patient as well as monitor for any possible late-effects that could occur. Patients are also seen by LTFU Director Danielle Bello, Ph.D., a pediatric neuropsychologist, who has specific expertise in the relationship between the brain and a patient’s behavior, cognitive and emotional response. Survivors accessing the LTFU will also be seen by a social worker and education specialist.
On the patient’s initial visit, each is provided with a personalized “roadmap.” It is intended to be used by the patient for the rest of their lives. It documents their specific treatments and the possible “late-effects” that occur because of those treatments. This roadmap is intended to assist the patient in understanding their risks, and should be shared with any of the patient’s future medical providers.
The generous donation from Storybook Homes will help support the mission and life-saving services provided through the Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic for Childhood Cancer Survivors, including providing patients with the tools and knowledge that help them live a healthy life. In addition, the funds will also allow the clinic to collect important data specific to the health of Nevada’s childhood cancer survivors.