The Reed family of Bellville, Ohio, is taking their story to Capitol Hill to deliver an important message to their members of Congress. Nationwide Children’s Hospital patient, Grant Reed, 15, and his family will join more than 40 other pediatric patients and their families to meet with members of Congress and share their personal health experiences as part of the 2016 Children’s Hospital Association’s Family Advocacy Day, taking place June 21-22 in Washington, D.C.
The leading cause of death, due to disease, among children in the United States is Cancer. The therapies to treat it can cause the majority of childhood cancer survivors to experience harmful, life-long complications from their treatments. Yet, despite childhood cancers consisting of more than 150 types of cancer, pediatric cancers, as a whole, receive a small portion of the total NCI/NIH funding according to the Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research.
Grant and his family are hoping to do their part in advocating for additional funding of pediatric cancer research while in Washington, D.C. In 2012 at age 11, Grant was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumor. Just days after his diagnosis, Grant underwent extensive brain surgery to remove the tumor. Following surgery, Grant developed Posterior Fossa Syndrome, which left him severely weak on his left side with an inability to speak, eat or drink. Because the physical effects of his surgery were so severe, Grant was admitted into the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Nationwide Children’s. After multiple weeks, Grant was released from the hospital walking, eating and talking. Undergoing a year of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Grant and his family began to adjust to their new normal in the summer of 2013. However, the following winter, the cancer returned and Grant endured another brain surgery and intense chemotherapy and spent most of the first six months of 2015 in the hospital.
Fighting cancer twice has strengthened Grant and his family. It has been a difficult journey, physically, financially, and mentally, but the entire Reed family has learned to cherish each day and are happy to share Grant is cancer free.
“We are excited and honored to attend Family Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. on behalf of Nationwide Children's Hospital,” said Denise Reed, Grant’s mother. “Our family has learned first-hand the importance of pediatric cancer research and its resulting treatments. Despite advances in cancer care, many kids still lose their battle with cancer and this must change. If every person spent a few hours on a pediatric cancer unit watching the strength and resiliency of kids with cancer, we believe more people would want to find a cure. We are happy to be a voice advocating for increased funding for pediatric cancer research across the country so that these courageous warriors survive and may live life as ordinary children.”
“Children and teens like Grant Reed show tremendous resilience as they undergo treatments that can save their lives,” said Steve Allen, MD, Nationwide Children’s CEO and Chair of the Children’s Hospital Association. “The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is constantly striving towards transforming children’s health and accomplishing best outcomes. The ground breaking research that is being achieved at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been funded, in a large part, by NIH. One of the best investments our nation’s leaders can make is in pediatric research.”
About the Children’s Hospital Association
The Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 220 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care. For more information on Family Advocacy Day, visit https://www.childrenshospitals.org
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Note to editors: Grant Reed is a resident of Bellville, Ohio, 44813