Now a childhood cancer survivor and a patient of The LIVESTRONG™ Survivorship Center of Excellence’s Living Well After Childhood Cancer™ Program (LWAC) at the Abramson Cancer Center—a collaborative effort between Penn Medicine and CHOP that tailors individual health care plans to manage the short and long-term medical and psychosocial effects of cancer treatment— Shantae’s concern for the wellbeing of others has only gotten stronger.
|Shantae, age 10, while undergoing chemotherapy|
As a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) she is helping do just that—moving science forward by facilitating patient clinical trials. By ushering brave individuals through trials, she is making the future better and brighter while providing hope for cures: all behind the scenes.
Shantae's personal cancer journey and involvement with LWAC exposed her to the many facets of health care, driving her professional involvement with finding a cure. Throughout high school and college Shantae worked on retrospective chart reviews and data analysis for Richard B. Womer, MD, attending physician at CHOP and professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Womer, who specializes in sarcomas and medication and chemotherapy safety, was also Shantae’s childhood oncologist. Dr. Wormer and Shantae’s mentor in research Barbara Bayton, who was very instrumental in teaching Shantae how to coordinate clinical trials until her recent retirement, offered Shantae her first job out of college—and she has been at CHOP ever since.
Penn is leading the way in research that will benefit cancer survivors of all ages and types. Led by LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence Program Director Linda A. Jacobs, PhD, RN, the Survivorship team consists of physician specialists, researchers, psychosocial and nutritional counselors, support services providers, a rehabilitation medicine physician, and an exercise physiologist.
“We empower patients to take control of their long-term health and well-being,” said Dr. Jacobs. “Our goal is to optimize patients’ quality of life. We are very successful in facilitating a very close relationship with oncologists and primary care doctors—so that new advances are immediately translated into the clinical environment.”
From doing research on such issues as bone loss, hot flashes, the impact of acupuncture, and lymphedema and cardiac problems that may develop following certain chemotherapy treatments, to helping patients cope with recurrence, genetics, insurance, and fertility issues, the LWAC provides survivors the tools they need to flourish after beating cancer.
Shantae (second to the right) with her sisters Janay, Tara, Tamara, and Dana and mom Carol (wearing scarf).
“The Survivorship program has been source of guidance to the well being of my adult life after cancer. Dr. Jacobs and my team help me to think of my health in a long-term way, and deal with the adult issues resulting from surviving a childhood cancer,” Shantae explained. “I am so thankful it exists!” Because of her history, Shantae occasionally comes out from behind the scenes to speak with young patients with similar diagnosis to hers, or who are about to undergo an amputation, in order to help guide them.
“I remember the day of my surgery like it was yesterday. It is when I first cried over my diagnosis and when the magnitude of what was happening hit me,” Shantae recalled. “I love that I am able to use my life to help young people through similar experiences.”
She was also recently able to volunteer at Beyond Cancer, an annual event where families are able to reunite with fellow patients and staff.
“While everyone may not have had a personal cancer journey like mine that led them here, everyone appreciates the hardships that children and families go through with cancer,” Shantae explained of her co-workers.
“We are a tight knit group with a bond for one common goal: to help treat and cure cancers.”
The Living Well After Childhood Cancer™ Program is grateful for the generous support of the Rosato Family through the Sarah Marie Golf Invitational. The 11th annual golf outing will be held on September 29th at Sunnybrook Golf Club. Click here to learn more, attend, or support this important event.
To get more information about the survivorship program at Penn Call 1-800-789-PENN (7366) to be connected toll-free to our Living Well After Cancer™ Program.