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Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Healthwatch Spring 2008

Amanda Celebrates Her Victory Over Cancer

Advanced Medical Intervention Saves Teen's Life

Rochelle Ayala, MD

Iftkhar Hanif, MD
Medical Director of
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Brian Cauff, MD

Brian Cauff, MD
Pediatric
Hematologist-Oncologist

Deborah Kramer, MD

Deborah Kramer, MD
Pediatric
Hematologist-Oncologist

Lynn Meister, MD

Lynn Meister, MD
Pediatric
Hematologist-Oncologist

Anne Schaefer, MD

Anne Schaefer, MD
Pediatric
Hematologist-Oncologist

Advanced Medical Intervention Saves Teen's Life

Seventeen-year-old Amanda thought that the persistent pain in her knee was nothing more than a sports injury. But when the high school junior sought medical attention at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, she was devastated to learn she had a highly unusual type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma called precursor B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.

"This is an aggressive subtype of childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that accounts for less than 10 percent of all cases of lymphoblastic lymphoma. Lymphomas in general account for only 10 to 15 percent of all childhood cancers," says Anne Schaefer, MD, pediatric hematologist-oncologist on the medical staff of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Memorial Hospital West and Memorial Hospital Miramar, who treated Amanda.

Within days of the news, Amanda put her active teen life on hold and began chemotherapy. Although she was apprehensive about the side effects caused by the treatment, she took comfort in her mother Rosie and the people at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

"The doctors and nurses were always warm and very positive about my treatment. I knew I could put my trust in them," says Amanda.

For Rosie, a single mother with no other family members in Florida, the friendly environment of the hospital made all the difference. "It's important to have people who are willing to walk with you through hard times, and I discovered those people at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital," she says. "They made me feel at home."

The hospital's doctors and staff made every effort to educate mother and daughter about how the cancer would be treated.

"I was amazed at how quickly they put the program together for us," says Rosie. "The educational part was so efficient and informative and extremely helpful.

One year ago this vibrant young woman did not know whether she would live to see her own high school graduation. Because of the rapid medical intervention, Amanda soon went into remission. Now 18, she is studying biology at the University of South Florida with the ultimate dream of a career in forensic pathology. In her spare time, she works out to build up her physical strength so she can resume playing tennis, her favorite sport.

To find a Memorial physician who is committed to patient- and family-centered care, call Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Physician Referral Service toll-free at (866) JDCH-DOC. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.