Beating Cancer At Just Three Years Old - Greyson's Story of Hope - NFCR


Beating Cancer At Just Three Years Old – Greyson’s Story of Hope

Cancer is devastating at any age. Can you imagine having to experience such an awful disease at the age of three? Around this age, Greyson Banovich started having excruciating pain in his lower back. Neither he nor his family could understand.

Finally, when it became disruptive in school, the Banoviches realized the pain was severe and needed attention as soon as possible. Doctors found that Greyson had a large tumor on his spine called ganglioneuroblastoma.

Ganglioneuroblastoma is a rare cancer of the nerve tissue and occurs almost exclusively in children and infants.

Learn more about childhood cancers, including signs, symptoms, and more.

The Doctors told the Banoviches they arrived ‘just in time’ because Greyson’s tumor was about to cut off the nerves in his spine. Immediately following the MRI, the family received a room on the children’s oncology floor so Greyson could undergo treatment as soon as possible.

Greyson Banovich

How NFCR Played an Important Role in Greyson’s Treatment

Step one of Greyson’s treatment was to remove part of the tumor so it could undergo genomic sequencing. Genomic Sequencing is a method of analyzing the entire genetic makeup of a specific organism or cell type and can provide valuable insights to families and medical teams, including how or why cancer formed and the best treatment approach.

In Greyson’s case, his tumor was sequenced to have the ALK mutation. This finding meant that his tumor had likely been growing slowly inside him since his birth and was not influenced by environmental factors. As you can imagine, this provided significant relief to Greyson’s parents. Since Greyson’s tumor was slow-growing and did not show indicators of being at risk for metastasis, his medical team determined his treatment would be a series of surgeries to remove the tumor. Greyson would not need chemotherapy or radiation.

NFCR-funded cancer research was a contributing factor to Greyson’s successful treatment plan. NFCR has long believed that by understanding the basics of cancer, we can find a pathway to a cure for cancer. As such, we have supported research that looks at cancer outside the lens of what we learn can only be applied to one cancer, but instead, how we can use findings for multiple types of cancers to benefit more patients. Dr. Daniel Von Hoff has received long-term support from NFCR and its donors. With NFCR-Support, Dr. Von Hoff advanced the use of the technology called whole genome sequencing (WGS) in his pioneering efforts to help guide treatments for patients with rare cancers. WGS decodes the genetic information in cancer patients’ tumors. With the analysis of the data from WGS, researchers can identify known abnormalities in cancer genes as well as new mutations in these genes or in new genes. With this molecular information, the abnormalities can be matched to therapeutics that “target” them, providing a guide for our doctors to treat patients.

Von Hoff is a world leader in translational medicine, accelerating novel drug discoveries from the laboratory to cancer treatments in clinical trials. His accomplishments have led him to his current role as executive vice president of the molecular medicine division and distinguished professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Arizona – where Greyson’s tumor was sequenced.

Learn more about Dr. Daniel Von Hoff’s work >>>

Celebrating Survivorship

Greyson is alive today thanks to the hard work of researchers, doctors, and donors who support their work. 

Greyson, accompanied by his mother, Katie, was recognized on the stage for his inspirational story of strength and courage in defeating cancer at just 3 years old. With the help of the 2022 Global Summit & Award Ceremonies audience, a glow stick party was thrown for him. Glow stick parties were a source of comfort for Greyson during his hospital stay.

“Greyson’s story is a story of hope. That isn’t always the case with cancer, but it is becoming the case more and more thanks to research.” – Katie Banovich, Cancer Research Advocate and Mother of Greyson.

Funding research makes a difference in the lives of kids like Greyson and others. To help make cures possible, donate today.

Giving Back to Help More Childhood Cancer Patients

After facing cancer at three years old, Greyson (now 6) lives a normal life playing soccer and making art with his big sister, Emery. 

Creating artwork has become a source of comfort and joy for the siblings. The duo has donated several of their art pieces to the National Foundation for Cancer Research to help raise much-needed funds for pediatric cancer research. Browse their artwork >>>

Greyson throughout Treatment & Recovery
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