From the window of his laboratory in the Jimmy Fund Building, Dana-Farber physician-scientist Wayne Marasco, MD, PhD, has a full view of the floors occupied by pediatric cancer patients at Children's Hospital Boston. This daily reminder of the importance of his work uncovering the mysteries of cancer and AIDS took on added meaning for Marasco in July 2001, when he found himself gazing directly into a room occupied by his 4-year-old daughter, Madison.
Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Madi Marasco spent much of a month waving to her dad when he wasn't at her bedside - or smiling at the "get well" banner crafted by his lab team. A two-year chemotherapy protocol at the Jimmy Fund Clinic followed, during which Wayne Marasco gained a deeper appreciation for the Institute where he had worked for more than a decade. His colleagues were always offering their consultation or kind words, and each day that Madi had a clinic visit, neighbors in the Wellesley community where he and his wife, Jeny Brown, live with their five young daughters left home-cooked meals on the family's doorstep. Even Madi's 9-year-old sister, Mariah, did her part: growing her hair long and then donating nearly a foot of it to the "Locks of Love" program that makes hairpieces for children whose own hair - like Madi's - has fallen out during cancer treatment.
"I let the cancer experts take over and was there for Madi as an advocate and a dad - but not as her doctor. I knew she was in great hands." - Wayne Marasco, MD, PhD
Last September, Madi celebrated her final chemotherapy session with parties at the clinic and home. A few weeks later, family and friends on "Madi's Team" trekked and raised funds for Dana-Farber in their second Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk. And as he carefully watches his youngster's progress, Wayne Marasco has become more committed than ever to finding tomorrow's cures while helping today's patients. He hopes that one day, the view from his office will change.
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