Ochsner Hospital for Children Cancer Patient  Shares His Story of Hope

Watch Daniel’s story: https://news.ochsner.org/videos/daniel-strong-daniel-allemonds-story

NEW ORLEANS – On September 18, 2015, after only four months of marriage, Daniel Allemond and his wife were given the news he had leukemia. When most people picture someone who is diagnosed with cancer, an older person often comes to mind. So when Daniel, at the age of 29, heard it for the first time, “it was a punch to the gut.”

Daniel grew up in Henderson LA, with a love of the outdoors and playing sports. He decided to participate in the half Ironman, and it was during the training that Daniel realized something was wrong.

After his training times continued to worsen, and he found himself unable to keep up with his training partners, Daniel went to see a physician. His initial visits yielded abnormalities in his blood. After a bone marrow biopsy and further blood work, he received the leukemia diagnosis and was referred to Dr. Robert Vasquez at Ochsner Hospital for Children and their Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer and Survivorship Program.

The AYA Program at Ochsner provides treatment for patients ages 15 - 39 with most types of cancer. Researchers are discovering that many of the cancers that occur in this age group are biologically different than those seen at other ages. In addition, The AYA cancer program at Ochsner is designed to give these patients access to the most advanced treatments, offer enrollment on appropriate clinical trials, and to provide comprehensive medical and psychosocial support for these patients.

Daniel was surprised when he was told they wanted to treat him in pediatric oncology, but after seeing the different protocols and improved outcomes, it was clear it was the right choice.

“We quickly realized the AYA program offered specialized treatment for someone of my age group.” said Daniel. “The staff continually worked with me to ensure my treatment plan was tailored precisely to what I was going through. I’m so thankful for the support I’ve received from my family, friends, my employer -- LHC group, Dr. Vazquez and the rest of the AYA team.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 70,000 young people (ages 15-39) are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States – accounting for about 5 percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States. This is about six times the number of cancers diagnosed in children ages 0-14.

“The medical community is finally beginning to recognize that cancers occurring in young adults are often biologically different from those seen in older adults and require different therapies,” said Robert Vazquez, MD, Ph.D., AYA Program Director, Pediatric Oncology. “Daniel’s leukemia was found to have a recently discovered type of mutation for which there is potentially targeted therapy, and this information was used to formulate a treatment plan for his specific leukemia.”

Daniel brings the same hard work and positive outlook he had training for the half Ironman to beating his disease. “If you don't have a positive attitude, you might as well quit on day one,” said Daniel. “You just keep grinding. It’s not always pretty, but you have to keep moving forward with a smile on your face. I’m still alive thanks to God and the Ochsner team. They will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Click here to watch Daniel’s story: https://news.ochsner.org/videos/daniel-strong-daniel-allemonds-story

To learn more about the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivor Program at Ochsner, please visit www.ochsner.org/aya or call 504-842-2935.

Please follow us on social media: Facebook: Ochsner Health System, Twitter:@OchsnerHealth, Newsroom: news.ochsner.org for updates as additional information becomes available.

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Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 30 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 60 health centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 80 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs more than 17,000 employees and over 1,000 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, and conducts more than 1,000 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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