Not all heroes don capes, but around here, they do wear lab coats and scrubs! One of them is Dr. Sender, the medical director of the CHOC Children’s Cancer Institute. Read this incredible story highlighting his dedication and compassion, and you’ll see why he’s a hero:
Shaun Tanner, a 6-foot, 250-pound 18-year-old, stood out on the oncology floor while being treated by Dr. Sender and the team for a rare sarcoma cancer. He loved CHOC – the kids, nurses and doctors, but hated the white walls in his hospital room and often commented that there was not much for someone his age to do in a children’s hospital, where he would benefit from aggressive pediatric protocols.
While Dr. Sender was hanging Shaun’s stem cells in preparation for his stem cell transplant in 2002, he promised the young man that he would create a teen environment and program at CHOC. Shaun lost his brave battle to cancer later that year, but Dr. Sender never forgot his promise. He created the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program as part of the CHOC Cancer Institute, and recently helped celebrate the completion of the new AYA wing on the existing cancer floor. The wing includes three new patient rooms with individual televisions and PlayStations, in addition to the usual patient amenities; teen room with iPod docks and PlayStations; Hope Room, a resource area for patient/family use; school room; playroom; family lounge; staff lounge; conference room for multidisciplinary treatment planning; and storage space.
Shaun’s family was there for the celebration of the wing – they helped raise funds for it, and his dad commented that Shaun would have thought the new addition was “sweet.”
In additon to the Tanners and their foundation Hugs from Shaun, we want to thank the other supporters of the new AYA wing: Anaheim Ducks, John McQuade, Weingart Foundation, Ralphs/Food 4 Less, Catherine Scrafield, OC Shoot for a Cure, Doris Covelli-Freitz, Kenneth and Eileen Norris Foundation and Allen Charitable Lead Trust.