More than 120 donors, physicians, patients and staff gathered in Connecticut Children’s One World Café on April 19 to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the renovated Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Many of the donors in attendance were instrumental in supporting the $5 million Brighter Hope Campaign, which funded the renovation.
The importance of the campaign, led by Foundation Board Member Glen Greenberg, was underscored by the presence of Rylie Dagnall, 14, a former cancer patient who was featured on all the campaign materials as a child and who today is a healthy, thriving young lady.
Speaking at the celebration were Board Chair Chip Gengras, Connecticut Children’s president and CEO Jim Shmerling, and Ching Lau, MD, Ph.D., Division Head of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Dr. Lau, a renowned researcher who joined the staff in October, reflected on some of the significant advances in cancer and blood disorder treatments over the past five years, including the first drug approved for high-risk neuroblastoma, the use of hydroxyurea for sickle cell disease as well as the use of genetically engineered immune cells to treat certain kinds of leukemia. He also spoke of the future.
“We can now cure 80 percent of all cancers in children, but our work is not complete because there are still patients who we cannot cure,” Dr. Lau said. “So while our goal is to give the best possible care to the patients we have now, we have to advance the field by doing more research. And that’s what we are doing at Connecticut Children’s.”
The event also included an open house in the Center itself, with guided tours and patient families who shared their stories.
Published in Partners in Caring – Spring 2017