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Stories of Hope

Doctor's mission to change statistics of childhood cancer

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Dr. Sara Federico, St. Jude, "I love my job, there is no better job than the job I have."
That job is working to save the lives of some of the youngest and most critical patients.  Dr. Sara Federico is an Oncologist who works in the solid tumor division at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis.  

Dr. Sara Federico, "Neuroblastoma is the most common solid malignant tumors in the pediatric population, about 650 kids are diagnosed in the U.S. each year."

Dr. Federico tells Channel 3 unfortunately when kids are diagnosed with neuroblastoma about half of them have stage 4, where it has already spread to different areas in their body. She says at St. Jude they have their own protocol to treat high risk cases. "It involves very intense chemo therapy, surgery to remove primary tumor, bone marrow transplant, radiation therapy and also immune therapy."

While there are some warning signs for parents,  Dr. Federico says there are no major symptoms until the cancer has spread.   "They just notice a change, maybe a limp or child has fever, or belly a little more prominent."

Although great strides have been made, the survival rate is just 50 percent.

Dr. Sara Federico, "We never know which child we're going to be able to cure and which we're not going to be able to cure, we just give everything we have for every child and hope for the best."

It costs nearly two million dollars a day to keep the doors open here at St. Jude, but they are only able to provide this life saving research and treatment with your help.  And you can do that by supporting efforts like the St. Jude Dream Home.  Remember the biggest prize isn't winning a house, it's saving a young life.

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