BUFFALO, N.Y. – (December 23, 2020) – Care for children battling cancer in Western New York received a positive boost today when The 11 Day Power Play presented a check for $50,000 at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, where children and teens battling cancer receive expert medical care as part of a joint collaboration between Oishei Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only program of its kind in the region. This incredible donation will support the bone marrow transplant program that provides pediatric cancer patients with cutting-edge treatment and care right here in Western New York.
“The ability to offer bone marrow transplants to pediatric cancer patients here in Western New York is critically important. These therapies allow children and families to remain close to home during the extensive treatment and follow-up process,” said Kara Kelly, MD, medical director, Roswell Park Oishei Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program.
“Before this accredited program was available here, patients would need to leave the area for treatment, which is so difficult, especially having to leave their support systems at home. Since 2017, we have been able to perform over 35 bone marrow transplants. Additionally, the collaboration has paved the way for our program to be designated as the only upstate New York center to provide innovative treatments such as chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies, a form of immunotherapy using genetically engineered immune cells to children with leukemia and other types of cancer,” she continued.
This program requires extensive training and continuing education for clinical staff, including more than 140 hours of specific bone marrow transplant patient training to care for these patients. Funds raised from this year’s 11 Day Power Play will be critical in helping support this training and education for the program’s staff who work tirelessly to ensure kids have access to the best possible care.
These kids include Zoey, whose mom said, “Without the support from everyone on the 12th floor at Oishei Children’s Hospital, we would not have made it through transplant. The nurses’ training is important to me because I needed them to also train me, which they did. They sat down and told me what was going on and how to take care of Zoey so that when we could go home I knew what to do and could face any challenge.”
Patients, their families, nurses, doctors, therapists on the 12th floor at Oishei Children’s Hospital, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. inpatient critical care unit for the program, created “Thank You” artwork for Mike and Amy Lesakowski, founders of the 11 Day Power Play, as a sign of appreciation to them and all the players and donors to the event. The artwork was developed by the Oishei Children’s Hospital Artists in Residence team, who provide therapeutic support for patients in the hospital. It work on by over 50 people during a two week timeframe and brought so much joy and excitement to all involved.
“We are extremely grateful to Mike and Amy and for the generosity of all those who supported the 11 Day Power Play. We are committed to bringing the most advanced and cutting-edge treatments to the children of WNY. This gift will allow more children to be surrounded by their closest family and friends during their difficult treatment and recovery journey. Our team at Oishei continues to be humbled by the incredible spirit of giving that flows through our city of good neighbors,” said Stephen Turkovich, MD, chief medical officer at Oishei Children’s Hospital.
For more information, or to make a gift that will stay local and help kids like Zoey courageously battling cancer right here in our community, visit FOROCH.org.