Hockey legend Mario Lemieux set many records for goals in the sport. He is the only player to have been inducted in the Hall of Fame immediately after retirement and he promptly came back to play again—another first. His on and off career was due to many injuries and health issues–the most dire of which is a form of cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes and Lemieux feels “fortunate to have a type that has proven treatments with good outcomes.”
Now Lemieux wants to set another goal—to find a cure for rare and hard-to-treat lymphomas.
The Mario Lemieux Foundation has donated $2.5 million to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh that, along with matching funds from UPMC, will establish the Mario Lemieux Lymphoma Center for Children and Young Adults.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1500 children per year are diagnosed with some form of the disease. There are standardized treatments for majority of pediatric lymphoma cases but there is no effective treatment for up to 20 percent of patients.
Noelle Conover, who works at The Children’s Hospital, lost her child to a rare form of Lymphoma. Since then, she has committed to help the hospital raise awareness and funding for the Lymphoma Center and through her position in the Survivorship Program of the hospital, works with many survivors of Lymphoma and their families. She is very hopeful about the impact the Center will make for children and their families. “A center like this one, which will focus on the rare forms of Lymphoma in children, will help to one day find the answers to why children develop these kinds of cancers and hopefully, families like ours will not have to face this kind of a tragedy.”
The Center will be led by Linda McAllister-Lucas, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Children’s Hospital, an internationally recognized expert in lymphoma whose laboratory research has provided new insights into the molecular basis of these types of diseases.
For more information on the Mario Lemieux Lymphoma Center for Children and Young Adults, watch this video.