Childhood Cancer Research Grant Given in Honor of Sergeantsville Child Rayanna Marrero,

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The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-powered and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, is proud to announce that a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund created in honor of Rayanna Marrero, from Sergeantsville, N.J., will support lifesaving childhood cancer research taking place at Stanford University.

 

The Rays of Hope Hero Fund was created to honor Rayanna, or “Ray Ray,” as she was affectionately known by family and friends, who was 3 years old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After completing 27 months of chemotherapy, her family received more bad news – Rayanna had a secondary cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which was more than likely a direct cause of the chemotherapy needed to save her life. She won her battle with MDS after her uncle was found to be a perfect match for a stem cell transplant.

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Unfortunately, shortly after her transplant, she was diagnosed with graft-versus-host disease – a common, but devastating side effect of bone marrow transplants. Sadly, while Rayanna’s immune system was suppressed to battle this disease, she developed a life-threatening infection. She waged war with graft-versus-host disease for nearly a year and a half before succumbing to the disease, but her family continues to raise money through her St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund in hopes that her legacy will bring a cure.

 

 
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This year, the Rays of Hope St. Baldrick’s Fellow award was given to Melissa Mavers, M.D., Ph.D., at Stanford University. She will research how natural killer T cells can be used to prevent side effects in cancer patients who have stem cell transplants. Mavers is no stranger to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, as she previously shaved her head at one of its signature head-shaving events.

 

“It is with great pride and overwhelming thankfulness that we share the news of this grant to Dr. Mavers, made possible by the continued efforts of many for the St. Baldrick’s Rays of Hope Hero Fund,” Rayanna’s family says. “Every step closer to a more effective way to treat graft-versus-host disease makes Rayanna’s brief life with us more meaningful. May her strength and spirit accompany Dr. Mavers in her research.”

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Help the St. Baldrick’s Foundation continue to fund the best research, wherever it takes place. Make a donation today.
About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation believes that kids are special and deserve to be treated that way. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts who are working to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. Kids need treatments as unique as they are – and that starts with funding research just for them. Join us at StBaldricks.org to help support the best cancer treatments for kids.

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