JUST BEFORE his third birthday, Jordan Petingalo was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, the most common childhood brain cancer. After intensive treatment, which included surgery, aggressive radiation and chemotherapy, the resilient Sault Ste. Marie boy beat the disease.
While about 60% of children with this cancer survive, most, like Jordan, will experience significant long-term effects from their treatment. The now 14-year-old suffered serious nerve damage to his feet and has learning disabilities, and his growth has been affected. Though he has problems running and jumping, this inspiring teen still plays soccer, baseball and basketball.
Jordan's family was excited to learn about a recent Society-funded breakthrough in medulloblastoma that will undoubtedly improve outcomes for kids diagnosed with the disease. Dr. Michael Taylor, a pediatric neurosurgeon, discovered that medulloblastoma is not one disease, but four, each with a different genetic fingerprint.
By identifying the specific type of medulloblastoma a child has, treatment can be better tailored for each child, which could save more lives and create brighter futures for children with this disease.
Jordan's mother, Lisa, is excited to see that funds raised for research are making a difference and will have an impact. "If more lives can be saved and the most severe effects can be avoided, the outcome will be so much better for the children and their families," she says.