Today she is happy, healthy, and cancer free

Diagnosis: Grade 4 Medulloblastoma

Favorite Song: “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson

Hobbies: watching movies, hanging out with friends

CHIP Impact: Caitlin’s severe reaction to her radiation treatment has led to current research project using SNP chips to look at DNA repair gene variation (called polymorphism).  This study will enable future identification of high-risk patients like Caitlin and will both prevent the disastrous consequences of radiation treatment as well as aid in predict whether or not a patient could be cured with a reduced amount of therapy. Ongoing MAF support will complete this project.

Caitlin was an active and energetic 12 year old when she started noticing some vague balance issues while playing soccer.  She saw the pediatrician who felt it was due to her feet growing 2 sizes in a few months!  Several months later it all changed when her right eye began turning in.  An MRI showed a mass the size of a walnut.  A week later she was having brain surgery where the tumor was successfully removed, but the tumor was malignant and highly aggressive.  A few weeks later she started brain and spinal radiation and chemotherapy.  Caitlin ended up having a toxic reaction to the radiation and because of that was unable to complete the chemotherapy.  After multiple life threatening complications and months of being bedridden Caitlin finally began improving in May of 2006.  She spent that summer attending cancer camps and today she is a counselor at Camp Wapiyapi. Caitlin missed a year of school but was able to return to the 8th grade the following year. She continued to have tutors for the next year to help her catch up with her schoolwork.  That same year, Caitlin had more surgeries to deal with the effects of radiation. Today she is a happy, healthy and cancer free young woman who graduated from Regis University with a degree in childhood education and dreams of working with kids.