11-Year-Old Bravely Travels Across Seas During Pandemic to Fight Cancer

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11-Year Old Travels Across Seas During Pandemic on a Mission to Beat Cancer

Written by Rachel Wood, Director of Marketing

Traveling across seas during the height of a pandemic is no easy feat, but that didn’t stop Lucy’s parents from giving her the best possible chance to beat cancer.  In November 2020, 11-year old Lucy traveled to Charlotte from England on a mission.

The U.S. clinical trial was Dr. Sholler’s DFMO study. But there was another challenge putting Lucy’s spot in the trial at risk… getting into the states which had become extremely difficult due to COVID-19 and circumstances must be proved as exceptional for entrance.  After an extensive application process, many letters to the U.S. embassy in London, and interviews, Lucy was approved to travel to Charlotte to enroll in Dr. Sholler’s trial.  She had her first dose of DFMO in November 2020 and has traveled back and forth from England several times since.

Lucy at Levine Children’s, April 2021

During the first week of April, Lucy and her mom flew back for treatment and checkups at Levine’s Children’s.  After several rounds of clear scans, Lucy and her family learned on April 7th she is officially in remission after her 3-year battle with neuroblastoma!  There is no sign of cancer anywhere.

“Dr. Sholler and her team are just incredible.  We are just so thankful that Lucy qualified for the DFMO trial and that she’s now in their care.  Traveling during a global pandemic is nothing short of terrifying – especially with a child like Lucy – but we were more than prepared to do it and to give Lucy the best possible chance.  She’s now NED and those are words we just thought we’d never hear.” -Carrie, Lucy’s Mom

Dr. Sholler developed the drug DFMO, which is in pill form, for kids with neuroblastoma.  This drug helps keep kids with neuroblastoma in remission and with minimal to zero side effects.  We know countless kids who have received DFMO and are thriving.  We are excited that Lucy is having just as much success with the treatment and Dr. Sholler’s team helped her accomplish her mission… to beat cancer!

Five years ago the Isabella Santos Foundation helped fund Dr. Sholler’s DFMO pilot clinical trial at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital, which evaluated the safety of adding DFMO earlier in treatment to decrease disease relapse rates. At the time we were excited this treatment would eventually be available here in Charlotte.  And five years later we would have never imagined Dr. Sholler would be in our backyard leading the ISF Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s.   We are extremely proud to continue supporting her team with your support.  The team’s work is instrumental in providing specialized treatment and developing more options, like DFMO, to help increase survival rates of kids fighting rare cancers.  

You can follow Lucy’s progress on her Facebook page, Lucy’s Mission.

Lucy taking her 1st DFMO dose, given by Dr. Sholler at Levine Children’s, November 2020

Lucy & Mom at Levine Children’s, November 2020


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