COVID19: treatment of childhood cancer can't stop

by GRAACC - Support Group for Adolescents and Children with Cancer
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COVID19: treatment of childhood cancer can't stop
COVID19: treatment of childhood cancer can't stop
COVID19: treatment of childhood cancer can't stop
Lorena with her mother
Lorena with her mother

It is almost impossible to resist a smile and a sweet look from a child, right? Although small and fragile, they are masters of courage and bravery. Anyone who sees this little princess Lorena won’t believe that a baby, only 3 years old, already has a lot of overcoming stories to tell. But let her official spokesperson, her mom Elieide, 23, represent her in this issue. After all, our little pride needs to enjoy every minute of her post-treatment days.

“A mother’s heart does not make mistakes. I felt that, somehow, Lorena needed special attention. And I didn't rest until I found out what she had. The diagnosis of leukemia is always a fright for the whole family, but the difference is how you face the situation”, she says. And, if you have to be strong, the little one sure has someone to take after. Elieide spared no efforts to provide the best care and treatment for her daughter.

What she didn’t know is that everything would be really different here. As soon as the diagnosis was made, an innovative technique of precision medicine was employed, the Next Generation Sequencing, which expanded the investigation into the genetic alterations in Lorena’s leukemia cells, to help the medical team decide what treatment would be best. In her case, bone marrow transplant was the most appropriate option to prevent cancer from reappearing after the end of the treatment.

In addition to having all the security of this technology in her favor, Elieide was even more thrilled to know that she would be the one to save her daughter. That's because the medical team's option was for haploidentical transplantation, when the bone marrow is donated by a first-degree relative, with 50% compatibility. The chosen one? Mom, of course! “I was able to give life to Lorena twice”, says the mother, getting emotional.

In 14 days, the family celebrated the fact that the bone marrow “took root”, that is, the patient begins to produce their own blood cells after the transplant. Today the little one leads a life without limitations and loves to play, watch TV and paint.

“My feeling is one of immense gratitude for the support and welcoming we had at GRAACC. From the beginning, everyone was extremely professional, humane and very affectionate”, says Elieide.

Feeding hope, restoring quality of life to our patients and offering high quality medicine is only possible because we count on your donation. Thank you very much for this successful partnership!

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Beatriz, also known as “Bia,” is a very joyful and communicative girl. She lives in the city of Presidente Prudente, in the State of São Paulo. At the age of 10, she used to play guitar, sing, play with her four dogs, and go to school, but she was following her studies online, due to the pandemic. Amid these adaptations, she started to feel tired, lose weight and, shortly after that, she started to have fever.

Her parents sought for medical assistance. In the beginning, there was a possibility that she has contracted Covid-19, and, later on, she was thought to have caught dengue fever. The diagnosis came with a blood test: leukemia.

The pediatrician said that they could start the treatment in their city, but, in the case of complications, they would have to transfer the child to a larger and more specialized hospital. The family chose to start the treatment here in our hospital, where the girl would have support for any situation. So, mother and daughter moved temporarily to São Paulo, which was very difficult since they had to stay away from the father and their pets. They were also scared for having to face cancer.

But soon, our team worked to make Bia feel comfortable and present her ‘shows’ with lots of singing for an audience of nurses in the periods that she stayed at the hospital. Besides singing, Bia likes to make bracelets and she intends to be a fashion designer. So, we gave her a painting kit so that she could draw and paint her dresses.

Despite all these actions to ease the difficulties imposed by the treatment, in the last 13 months the girl had many breakthroughs, including when she had to be treated for Covid-19 and leukemia at the same time. This was only possible because our team was prepared and updated, having defined protocols to find and treat the new disease in an early stage based on the current literature. “We felt afraid because we knew that her immunity was low, but we were also very confident in GRAACC’s Hospital. Today, we praise each victory because we know everything that we had to face to get to this point,” says Bia’s mother, Camila. Once, during chemotherapy, Bia was asked what was her greatest dream. She did not hesitate to say that what she wished most was to go back home and play with her dogs.

This dream has already come true. Bia is now in a maintenance phase. She has chemotherapy each eight weeks, and she was already released to go back to her hometown and commemorate together with her pets at home. But she would not leave the hospital without embracing her doctor, the oncologist, who was nicknamed “Dr. Vi” by Bia.

The second commemoration planned is Bia’s 11th birthday party. “Since her birthday was in a moment of low immunity, we promised that she would commemorate at home with her friends,” said Camila. Bia is already preparing this meeting, while longing for her final commemoration. “When I finish the treatment, I will parade in my father’s decorated car throughout the city, with lots of balloons and colorful paints, with the words: ‘I beat cancer!’,” she said.

Just as Bia, thousands of children long for their cure each year in our hospital. With your support, we can offer hope, and a humanized and quality treatment, so that they can celebrate more and more victories. Thank you very much!

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Diagnosing and treating cancer in adolescence is one of the great challenges of pediatric oncology. Early recognition of the main signs that can point to the disease, such as nodules, spots and swelling is essential to increase the chances of cure. The parents need to be tuned for possible signs and seek specialized medical advice. When diagnosed early, our hospital achieved high cure rates in this age and were able to provide better quality of life and correct care”, explains doctor Eliana Caran, pediatric oncologist at GRAACC, specialist in adolescents.


“Cancer in adolescence has many specificities and its treatment can impact this stage of great physical, emotional and social development. That's why it's important that parents do like Victoria's parents did, diagnosed with a bone tumor in her arm when she was 12 years old. “After bumping into her cousin during a game, the emergency room doctors said it was a dislocation. But the pain continued and her arm became warm from the inflammation. We persisted and took Victória to the orthopedist, who diagnosed the tumor and referred us to GRAACC Hospital”, says Joseane, the patient's mother.


“That is why it is so important to be in specialized centers in pediatric oncology that, in addition to the experience in dealing with tumors of adolescence, which is different from the treatment of cancer in adults, understand the impacts of the discovery of the disease and the peculiarities of therapeutic approaches in teenagers’ lives”, explains Dr. Eliana Caran.


Every day, new patientes as Victoria come to our hospital in search of cancer treatment and cure. With the help of people like you, we are able to offer treatment so that they get every chance of being cured, preserving their quality of life.

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In the beginning of the pandemic, March 2020, Gustavo was 6 years old and his mother noticed that her son had little dark spots in his skin. Without hesitation, she took him to the pediatrician to check if everything was all right.

The doctor, just like the mother, also suspected that those symptoms could be a problem and directed them to a hematologist. After some exams, Gustavo was diagnosed with leukemia.

The family was deeply shaken, but nevertheless trusted the pediatrician´s suggestion that GRAACC´s Hospital would be the best place to find better chances of cure. When they arrived, the family was so warmly welcomed that Gustavo started to wish to become a doctor when he grew up, inspired by those professionals that were taking care of him.

The treatment was performed with four chemotherapy sessions, but it was far from easy. For each session done, Gustavo´s immunity decreased and therefore he had additional complications, such as Covid-19 infection.  

Always inside GRAACC´s Hospital, Gustavo went through the whole leukemia treatment, including the Covid-19 infection.

Such scenario was possible only because GRAACC was adapted to receive patients with respiratory syndrome separately from the others, since the very beginning of the pandemic, which provided safety for all. Besides that, the hospital prepared itself to treat the new disease in cases like Gustavo, that had to overcome Covid-19 while struggling with cancer.

After many precautions, he recovered from Covid-19 and could continue the leukemia treatment. As the days in the hospital went by, Gustavo remembered how much he enjoyed playing soccer with his parents and had dreams with the moment he would be able to swim in the pool.

By the end of November 2020, Gustavo performed his last chemotherapy session and went on to remove the Port-a-Cath, that device placed under the skin to facilitate medication. Arriving at the surgery center he was overwhelmed with joy when he was welcomed by his favorite super-hero, Spider-man, which would also be his anesthetist.

Can you imagine his happiness when he entered the swimming pool again? He was so happy that he faced the cold water, just to have fun!

Nowadays, he is celebrating 1 year and 3 months out of treatment and comes to the hospital only for checkups every quarter, just to make sure everything is ok.

This humane treatment, alongside with dreams coming true and hopes of cure, is only possible because we rely on the help and donations of people like you.

Thank you so much!

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Luize with her family at the Hospital
Luize with her family at the Hospital

Receiving a Cancer diagnosis is a tough moment to all children and their relatives when they arrive at GRAACC´s Hospital, due to all the changes and uncertainties that lies ahead of them. Adding a Covid-19 pandemic scenario to that diagnosis, poses an extra challenge. This was the case of young Luize, who was only 6 months old when she received confirmation that had cancer, initiating the treatment during the pandemic. Luize, back then living in South of Brazil, was routed to GRAACC´s Hospital in São Paulo, a national reference in pediatric oncology for 30 years that has the mission to offer every chance of cure to children and teenagers with cancer, providing life quality and reaching an average of 70% cure cases.

In GRAACC, the patient will find a complete infrastructure, from Medicine Excellency to a humanized care performed by a multidisciplinary team of specialized professionals. The Hospital provides differentiated treatment with divided ambulatories according to the type of cancer, assuring that an experienced team specialized in that kind of tumor attends the patient. Moreover, all the resources to diagnose and treat the tumor like specialized facilities, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, Bone marrow transplant, surgery center, pediatric ICU, among others, are all centralized in one place.

During this pandemic period, GRAACC´s Hospital relied on the charity from people and companies around the world, which altogether provided Luize a specialized and complete oncologic treatment. GRAACC exists to treat Luize and the other four thousand children that arrives at the Hospital every year. As without donations this mission would not be possible, the donors are a crucial part of this story.

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Organization Information

GRAACC - Support Group for Adolescents and Children with Cancer

Location: Sao Paulo, SP - Brazil
Project Leader:
Mariane Rodrigues
Sao Paulo, SP Brazil
$5,907 raised of $56,000 goal
105 donations
$50,093 to go
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