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Greta on Scooter

We Said Yes to a Lifesaving Therapy for Our Baby

By Maggie Oberhofer, Greta’s mom

Before her first birthday, my daughter, Greta, went through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at our local hospital in Oregon. When her leukemia came back just five months later, our doctor said we were probably going to lose her. Heartbroken, we started considering end-of-life care — until we learned about an immunotherapy trial at Seattle Children’s.

A Call Becomes a Lifeline

Greta getting an IVWhen I called about the trial, Dr. Rebecca Gardner responded within 30 minutes. Her team had seen amazing results with CAR T-cell therapy but had never tried it in a baby as young as mine. Greta had already suffered so much, so I was nervous about putting her through more treatments if they weren’t going to help.

Talking to Dr. Gardner, I could tell she was a mom, too, and that she understood where I was coming from. I could tell how much she cared about her patients and knew she would do everything she could to save Greta. We dropped everything and moved to Seattle.

A few months later, we watched Greta’s reprogrammed T cells drip into her body and hoped they would fight her cancer. Then we waited for what seemed like forever. Dr. Gardner stayed by our side and was there every time we needed a shoulder to cry on. Then we got news we could hardly believe: Greta’s cancer was in remission, and we were headed home.

An Everyday Kid

Greta on the first day of 1st gradeGreta quickly went from being weak and lethargic to tearing through the house. It didn’t seem possible, but my husband and I suddenly had to worry about everyday things – like baby-proofing our electric outlets.

Now Greta is 7 and loves riding her bike, cracking jokes and being the normal kid I feared she’d never become. Every day, I look at her and think ‘I can’t believe you’re here; we’re so lucky to have you.’ And I remember that she wouldn’t be here without Seattle Children’s — there was no other trial for her, no other treatment anywhere in the world.

That trial wouldn’t have been open, and Greta’s therapy never would’ve happened, if it weren’t for donors. Thank you for saying yes. Thank you for saving Greta and keeping our family whole.

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