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  Learn more about Neuroblastoma and treatment at St. Jude


Ali – Tennessee

At age 5, Ali’s pediatrician diagnosed her with neuroblastoma and referred her immediately to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for treatment. Ali completed more than two years of treatment, including chemotherapy. Doctors declared her cancer-free, and she resumed the normal life of a young child.

At age 12 a persistent pain in Ali’s leg was determined to be a recurrence of the cancer, which dramatically decreased her chance for survival. Most children with a recurrence do not survive.

After the traditional treatment protocols had been exhausted, Ali received a “Haplo” bone marrow transplant, a procedure pioneered by a St. Jude researcher, Rupert Handgretinger, MD, PhD. This new, cutting-edge process allows an unmatched donor, in this case Ali’s mother, to be a patient’s cell donor.


Ali spent several more trying months at St. Jude following her transplant. She loved to laugh and never gave up hope. While her cancer appeared to be in remission as a result of the procedure, other complications in concert with her already weakened state resulted in her passing away in April 2005.

Ali had a tremendous impact on many of her peers as well as the medical staff of the hospital. Nearly 1,000 friends and family attended her funeral service – including doctors and nurses – some who knew Ali, many who did not.

Novel treatments – and the research behind them – are what makes St. Jude unique. Discoveries made at St. Jude are shared freely with doctors and researchers all over the world, thereby helping to save lives everywhere.

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