St. Jude helps families adjust after childhood cancer

Special Reports

St. Jude's new Transition Oncology Program helps families figure out what comes next

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KOIN) — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is launching a new program to help families fighting childhood cancer settle back into normal life when they return home.

The fight against childhood cancer is personal for many of the workers at St. Jude, including for pediatric nurse Emily Browne who survived acute lymphoblastic leukemia as a teen in college.

“None of my friends around me had experienced anything like that so I really relied on friends I’d met at the hospital to use as a sounding board and check in with because they got it,” Browne said.

St. Jude Children’s Hospital pediatric nurse Emily Browne, March 2020 (KOIN)

Browne is now the director of the Transition Oncology Program at St. Jude, a new program dedicated to helping patients and their families figure out what comes next as they near the end of chemotherapy.

“I had a mom yesterday who said this is hard, harder than diagnosis because, at diagnosis, everybody is on autopilot taking care of everything,” said Browne. “She said, ‘This is harder—I’m really nervous and really scared.'”

Browne said the program involves everything from providing local resources for the emotional well-being of patients and families to the information the child’s school will need, as well as the information their healthcare providers will need back home.

St. Jude provides thousands of free consultations for doctors worldwide treating children including in our community.

“We really want to empower the family to be that advocate, to be that voice—to just build that relationship with providers back at home,” Browne said.

St. Jude is giving providers and patients across the country, including in the Portland metro area, the extra support they need and set them up for success in the fight against childhood cancer.

St. Jude raises money to ensure no family ever receives a bill for any services it provides. One way St. Jude raises funds is through its Dream Home Showplace and, for the first time, one is coming to the Pacific Northwest. It will be built in the Magnolia Heights subdivision in Camas and will be featured in the Clark County Parade of Homes in September.

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