Grateful parents create Giving Page to support pediatric cancer research

Shortly after Zanna turned 3, her parents, Jen and Matt, noticed she was frequently getting sick. They were taking her to the pediatrician at least once a week for over a month for a variety of concerns: stomach bug, double ear infection, trouble walking, and a lingering cough, to name a few. While every test came back negative, they knew something wasn’t right, and they were desperate for answers.

After eight visits to the pediatrician, a blood test revealed concerningly low red blood cell counts, and Zanna’s parents were advised to immediately go to the hospital. Upon arrival, Zanna received fluids, antibiotics, and a blood transfusion. Her parents remember her looking better for the first time in weeks. However, more tests revealed what they were least expecting: B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Once they received Zanna’s diagnosis, she was referred to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, where she has been receiving treatment for the last two years. Her treatments have included chemotherapy, intramuscular shots, and other medications to combat the side effects.

On the two-year anniversary of Zanna’s diagnosis, her family created a Giving Page—a personalized fundraising page—to support pediatric cancer research and care at Dana-Farber.

“We want to give back to the organization that saved our daughter’s life,” says Zanna’s mother, Jen.

Jen and Matt were inspired to share their story and to encourage others to support not only their daughter, but other pediatric patients at the Jimmy Fund Clinic.

“When we were given a tour of the Jimmy Fund Clinic, I remember being told that one day Zanna would be running through the doors on her treatment days,” Jen says. “It seemed so hard to fathom. At that time, we were wheeling her around in a wagon because she couldn’t walk. Fast forward two years and we can barely keep up with her! She is running, skipping, and dancing when she arrives for treatment.”

The family feels incredibly thankful for the compassionate care they’ve received over the last few years. Today, they are looking forward to Zanna having a healthy and happy childhood.

“Cancer has touched many different aspects of my life and has affected some of the people that I love the most,” Jen shares. “I feel proud that sharing Zanna’s story can help to raise awareness and funds for patients who are currently going through treatment, as well as future patients who will benefit from this lifesaving research. Because of research taking place at Dana-Farber, my baby girl is alive and thriving and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Help support patients like Zanna by joining The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at DefyCancer.org.