Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 13, 2017 07:43 AM

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Every day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, according to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. But, there is some good news about children who are surviving the disease, like 10-year-old Hailey Coniber from LeRoy.  

Hailey survived Adrenocortical Carcinoma, a rare form of cancer that affects the adrenal glands.  Every Monday morning, Hailey goes into Golisano Children’s Hospital for a weekly checkup.

"Every Monday I come in to get my blood checked because I have lots of different shots,” Hailey said. "It's really hard because sometimes you don't know what you’re in for."

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Despite the uncertainty, Hailey's mom, Melissa Coniber, says Hailey's strength throughout ten surgeries and other treatments is remarkable.

"We have a new normal coming to the hospital quite often, not knowing when she's going to need treatments and because she doesn’t have an active adrenal system right now. Any kind of stress can put her in the hospital a couple weeks at a time,” Coniber said.

St. Jude’s Hospital says one in every 285 kids in the U.S. will develop cancer before age 20. Doctor Jessica Shand, pediatric oncologist and researcher at Strong Memorial Hospital, says the survival rates are increasing.

"In the 1950s, maybe 15 percent of children diagnosed with cancer would survive. But now considering all diagnoses, between 85-90 percent of children diagnosed with cancer will survive,” Shand said.

Shand says there is still work to do when it comes it research.

"The major funding organization for pediatric cancer is the National Cancer Institute, but only about 4 percent of the NCI budget is dedicated to childhood cancer,” Shand said.

Shand says NCI needs to devote more money and time into the cause so that children like Hailey can continue to live and inspire.

"I've been doing this for a long time and I've been helping others for a while,” Hailey said.

Follow Hailey’s journey here.


Kaci Jones

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