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Connor’s Cure: Meet Lance

Learn more about Lance, a 10-year-old who has benefited from Connor’s Cure research being done at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Lance was a healthy, strong, very active boy until age 4. His family started to notice intermittent problems, and his family thought he must have injured himself. Lance's pediatrician ordered X-rays, which were negative. They were quickly scheduled with an orthopedic surgeon at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, who immediately admitted Lance for an MRI or his brain and spinal cord. Lance was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor and an optic nerve glioma.

After receiving countless treatments of chemotherapy and radiation, Lance started a vaccine trial at Children’s Hospital. His vaccine treatments included two injections in his thigh for each treatment. The injections were substantial and painful. He experienced symptoms following injections including tiredness, low grade temperatures, headaches, leg pain and cysts at the injection point.

Lance experienced tumor growth that caused excruciating, debilitating neck pain, requiring a spinal surgery and shunt placement to drain the tumor. He later resumed the vaccine for a short time, but experienced excessive tumor growth accompanied by worsening symptoms. Lance stopped the vaccine early and completed several more rounds of chemotherapy treatments. The family was running out of options and his physical symptoms worsened severely.

At that point, the family opted for a drug that could potentially manage symptoms. He had an exceptional response to the final drug option after receiving the vaccine. The family received news they weren’t sure they’d hear – an MRI confirmed significant improvement.

Today, Lance, 10, is a happy young man who returns to Children’s for routine checkup appointments. He has a strong bond with his family after all that they endured and enjoys playing with his family’s puppy and watching wrestling.

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Connor's Cure

Connor’s Cure was created in 2014 by Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Stephanie McMahon to honor the irrepressible spirit of a special little boy, Connor Michalek. Find out how you can pay tribute to Connor and show your support for pediatric cancer research.

The V Foundation

The V Foundation has awarded more than $130 million to more than 120 facilities nationwide and proudly awards 100 percent of direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs.