Celebrating Futures

Nathan is the inspiration behind "Celebrating Futures"

The Neuro-Oncology Program at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego is thrilled to announce their new Gordon Fellowship in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology. This 1 year Neuro-Oncology Fellowship will consist of subspecialty rotations in Neurosurgery, Neuropathology, Radiation Oncology, and Neuroradiology. The Neuro-Oncology Fellow will be expected to engage in a clinical research project during the training, take on inpatient and outpatient neuro-oncology clinical responsibilities, asses patients referred for second opinion consultations from our newly opened Proton Beam Facility at Scripps, as well as attend weekly multidisciplinary clinical rounds, tumor boards, and translational research conferences with faculty members at the Moores Cancer Center and Sanford Burnham Institute. Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Candidates must have completed training in either Hematology-Oncology or Child Neurology to be eligible.

This new initiative was made possible through the support of the Celebrating Futures Fund. Celebrating Futures was founded by Andrew and Denise Gordon to benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Hematology/Oncology research, and Neurosurgery at Rady Children’s Hospital. They hoped this fund would help maintain and grow these critically important programs and facilities that make up the Neuro-Oncology Program. According to the Gordon’s, “The opportunity to establish and now carry this special fellowship program well into the future, was the perfect fit for what we wanted to contribute to Rady Children’s and the community.”  After being diagnosed with a rare pilomyxoid astrocytoma in his spinal cord, Andrew and Denise’s son, Nathan, has undergone multiple spinal surgeries and extensive treatment at the Hospital’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The care Nathan receives, and the generosity of community support for Rady Children’s inspired them to want to make a difference for other families faced with similar challenges.

The Gordon’s host an annual dinner/cocktail party to support these designated programs, and now the Fellowship, and have raised nearly $200,000 since 2012. “It’s hard to truly understand how important Rady Children’s Hospital is to the San Diego community until you see firsthand what it can mean to your family,”  said Andrew and Denise Gordon. “Being able to give back to Rady Children’s in a meaningful way has been a very fulfilling experience for us.”

Rady Children’s Neuro-Oncology Program is uniquely positioned to change the standard of care for pediatric brain and spinal cord tumor therapy by advancing clinical and translational research, and forming alliances with San Diego’s brightest researchers. By uniting visionary research with the highest standard of patient care we are committed to improving cancer treatment, long-term health outcomes, and the overall quality of life and survivorship of all children diagnosed with brain and spinal cord tumors. Fellowships in Neuro-Oncology are critical to the advancement of the field and an improve the quality of care. The addition of a Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Fellow will allow the program to grow nationally and internationally through patient care, education, and research.

About Rady Children’s Neuro-Oncology Program

Rady Children’s Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program is the San Diego region’s only provider of comprehensive care to children and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors.  Under the leadership of Dr. John Crawford, the only fellowship trained and board certified Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist in San Diego, our expert multidisciplinary team includes physicians from the divisions of Hematology-Oncology, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Radiology, Endocrinology, Rehabilitative Medicine, Ophthalmology, and Pathology, in coordination with a host of other professionals including nursing, social services, child life, pain management, and nutritionists. Our specialists are united around two goals: to investigate childhood CNS tumors and provide patients and families effective, comprehensive, compassionate, innovative and restorative therapies. The Neuro-Oncology Program cares for more than 500 children with newly diagnosed or previously treated central nervous system tumors and is one of the largest volume Neuro-Oncology Programs in California.

Our Neuro-Oncology Program is one of only a few in the country with a truly combined Neurosurgery/Neuro-Oncology monthly clinic, in conjunction with Dr. Michael Levy, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, where patients and their families can simultaneously interact with both the neurosurgeon and the neuro-oncologist to review films and discuss treatment options. State-of-the-art treatment is provided for both newly diagnosed and recurrent tumors. Advanced neurosurgery procedures, targeted radiation oncology and the latest biologic therapies are available to our patients through our alliance with the UC San Diego Moores Cancer, Scripps Proton Therapy Center and research collaborations with the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and The Scripps Research Institute.

In 2014, Rady Children’s Hospital, in conjunction with Scripps, became the only center in California to comprehensively treat pediatric central nervous system tumors with Proton Beam Therapy. The treatment is particularly beneficial for children as less damage to healthy tissue, especially critical organs like the brain, heart, lungs and eyes, means greater chances of overall improvement, health and longevity. Access to Proton Beam Radiation makes Rady Children’s one of only 11 centers in the country to have it available for our patients. As a result, Rady Children’s will be a neuro-oncology referral center for the western U.S. All outside pediatric referrals seen at Scripps will be reviewed by our Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board prior to therapy and will follow up in Neuro-Oncology Clinic during their radiation treatment. It is our goal to extend our patient base not only nationally but also internationally, given the rarity of this extremely expensive and effective technology.