Behind the Breakthroughs
The Your Stories Podcast

Hear candid conversations between people conquering cancer — patients, their family and friends, and doctors and researchers working to help us all.

Headshot of Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades. She is smiling, facing forward. She is wearing a black blazer over a white shirt, with a smal golden necklace. Her hair is light brown and shoulder-length.
Behind the Breakthroughs
The Challenge of Conquering Childhood Cancer
Imagine being a child and feeling sick. You keep waiting to get better. But then your doctor shares news that would scare even the bravest grown-up: You have cancer. At just 7 years old, Kenedi faced this reality when she was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer called a Wilms tumor. Suddenly, life drastically changed for the little girl who loves ice cream, playing with her sister, and making up stories about her family’s chickens.

Treating childhood cancer is challenging for multiple reasons. For starters, it’s rare — and rare cancers tend to receive less funding. Complicating matters further: Rare diseases yield fewer patients to enroll in clinical trials, fewer samples to study, and, consequently, lower amounts of meaningful data.

Meanwhile, the rarer the cancer, the greater that challenge becomes. So, when Kenedi was diagnosed with a particularly rare form of cancer, her family was scared. Imagine the tunnel vision, the sleepless nights, the gut-wrenching anxiety that young patients, along with their families and friends, experience after such a diagnosis, especially one that’s proven particularly resistant to treatment.

But Kenedi's oncologist, Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, had a plan for her treatment — a plan rooted in research and innovation.
Your Stories
From Chickens and Ice Cream to Clinical Trials

Decades ago, very few children survived Wilms tumors. Over time, however, research has improved the odds for patients like Kenedi, giving them a 93% chance of survival. That includes the type of research conducted by Dr. Allen-Rhoades, whose 2013 Conquer Cancer grant enabled her to collaborate with other scientists to search for warning signs of tumors like sarcoma. A groundbreaking clinical trial followed, focused on treating and improving survival for children with rare tumors. It was this research that Dr. Allen-Rhoades drew from to inform Kenedi’s care, and it worked: By age 8, Kenedi was in remission.

This month on our Your Stories podcast, we’re sharing a conversation between Dr. Allen-Rhoades and host Brenda Brody. Originally recorded in 2021, Dr. Allen-Rhoades tells us more about Kenedi, her resilience, the continued need for childhood cancer research, and the immense impact that donors have on young patients and their families.

We want to make it so that when we get any kid through the door, no matter what their diagnosis is, that they have an excellent outcome with the therapies we have available. That can only be done through research.
Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades