Why We Move
Each year, we move for the patients treated at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. The challenges our kids have bravely faced in their young lives is more than many of us will experience in a lifetime. Move for the Kids is our chance to give back and promise them a chance at a brighter future.
Meet a few of the kids you are helping through your fundraising efforts.
“Don’t give up”
Since August 2017, 10-year-old Jaysen Cook-Bey has been treated for an aggressive form of brain cancer at Lurie Children’s Brain Tumor Center. He has undergone 30 radiation treatments, and will finish his ninth and final cycle of chemotherapy in October. Through it all, he has lived by the motto he shares with others undergoing challenges: “Don’t give up.”
On July 26, Jaysen will serve as the patient champion at the Young Associates Board’s 16th Annual Run for Gus 5K Run/1 Mile Walk Kids Race to raise funds for brain tumor research and Family Services programs at Lurie Children’s. He’ll also be cheering on “Team Jaysen,” which will include his mom, Sonia Gutierrez, his sister, Yalitza, and other family members and friends.
Jaysen had complained of headaches for two weeks, which Sonia, a special education teacher, initially thought might be due to dehydration from playing outside in the hot August sun. Then came the phone call.
“It was my first day working at a new school, and Jaysen called and said, ‘Mommy, my head feels like it’s going to explode,’” says Sonia. “I told him, ‘put on your shoes. I’m taking you to the hospital.’”
A CT scan at a nearby hospital emergency department revealed that Jaysen had a mass in his brain. Two hours later, Jaysen and Sonia were in an ambulance on their way to Lurie Children’s from the western suburbs.
The hospital’s Brain Tumor Center is one of the largest such programs in the U.S. Its specialists care for 175 newly diagnosed patients each year, with approximately 50 patients enrolled in clinical research studies of new treatments each year.
After they arrived, an MRI scan confirmed that Jaysen had a brain tumor. His neurosurgeon explained that he would need to perform surgery the next morning to remove the tumor and determine its specific type.
While the neurosurgeon was able to remove the entire tumor during a six-hour surgery, the bad news was that it was an aggressive, malignant form called a medullablastoma. Jaysen would need both radiation treatments and chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancerous cells.
Using a precision medicine approach, Jaysen’s treatment plan was tailored to his precise form of medullablastoma, based on clinical research trials that had determined it to be the most effective therapy with the fewest side effects.
“The treatments were still tough on Jaysen, but he’s always been a happy and positive boy,” says Sonia. “He didn’t even mind losing his hair!”
Last March, Sonia and Jaysen received good news: his latest scans showed no signs of cancer, though he will need to continue chemo treatments for several months.
Sonia says that she’s happy to participate in the Run for Gus, because its proceeds directly benefit the kind of research and services at Lurie Children’s that have helped her son. As for Jaysen, he’s looking forward to race day.
“I’m very excited about it, because it will help other kids,” he says. “And that makes me feel really good.”