June 08, 2009
The wish of a teen cancer patient and the promise by his physician are being realized with the opening of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Wing at CHOC Children’s Hospital. As he was hanging stem cells in preparation for a stem cell transplant for 18-year-old Shaun Tanner, Dr. Leonard Sender, medical director of the CHOC Children’s Cancer Institute, promised Shaun he would create a teen-friendly environment at the hospital. Shaun lost his brave battle with a rare sarcoma cancer in 2002, but Dr. Sender never forgot his promise.
The fulfillment of that promise with the completion of the AYA Cancer Wing was celebrated on June 4, 2009 with the help of several generous supporters who in total contributed more than $1 million: Anaheim Ducks; John McQuade; Weingart Foundation; Ralphs/ Food 4 Less; Catherine Scrafield; OC Shoot for a Cure; Hugs from Shaun (started by Shaun’s parents Ralph and Terri Tanner); Doris Covelli-Freitz; Kenneth and Eileen Norris Foundation; and Allen Charitable Lead Trust.
The new 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.
Teen years are tough enough without the added stress of a cancer diagnosis. CHOC Children’s Hospital wanted to create an environment that would make teen cancer patients still feel like teens, encouraging camaraderie and social interaction with each other. Allowing the teen patients to be together versus with younger patients or with adults at adult facilities is much better for them psychologically.
While most people think adolescents are too “old” for children’s hospitals, research has shown that adolescents and young adults with cancer who are placed on aggressive pediatric protocols actually experience improved outcomes. The CHOC Children’s Cancer Institute Adolescent and Young Adult Program – one of the only programs of its kind in the nation – provides innovative medical treatment and follow-up, access to aggressive protocols and clinical trials, and psychosocial services to help these patients address issues related to self image, relationships, mental health, fertility and more.
About CHOC Children's: Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2014-2015) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital, CHOC Children's is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional health care network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, several primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence - The CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes. CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence. Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Pediatric Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.
Denise Almazan, Director of Public Relations
phone: (714) 509-8680