Dr. Vibhakar at Children’s Hospital Colorado; Morin Family Braves the Holidays after Recent Loss

“After symptoms that appeared suddenly and two visits to the pediatrician, Luke Morin was taken to the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital Colorado. On April 8, 2018, Luke’s family received devastating news that there was an inoperable and very aggressive tumor in his brain called DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). Aggressive indeed. Two radiation attempts and seventeen days later, Luke lost his battle with DIPG. He was 5 years old..,” and thus began the Morin family’s journey with “Luke’s Posse,”dedicated to funding pediatric brain cancer research at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Dr. Rajeev Vibhakar, Luke’s attending physician at Children’s Hospital Colorado, joins us in this podcast to discuss the advances in pediatric brain cancer research that the Morin family supports through the Foundation at the Hospital.  DIPG, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, is one of the most challenging enigmas of pediatric cancer research today. Within 2 years of Luke’s passing, the family has raised tens of thousands for research; the most recent fundraiser on Nov. 3, 2019, netting over $20,000.

The new reality the family faces without their son is especially difficult during the Holidays.  Jill and Cam Morin discuss how they do it, how they cope with the new normal where their son is present only in spirit and not in person.  Childhood Cancer Talk Radio’s host Janet Demeter shares with the Morins her parallel confrontation with this reality at 7 years past the loss of her son to the same pediatric brain cancer, DIPG, and the unique challenges that losing a child brings to a family.  The accomplishments of the Morin family, and their positive attitude toward life and the legacy of their son are exceptional; their experience is shared by a large bereaved population in the US and reaching out for help is encouraged in times of need for emotional support.

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About Janet

Blessed with varied interests and an artistic and musical upbringing, Janet had health challenges throughout her young adult life. Despite these she graduated Cum Laude from Wellesley College with an award of distinction for acting, and had also been a champion equestrian. She began a family with her husband Barry later in life, and had finally found happiness with daughter Sophie-Marie (3/12/06) and then baby (Jack 8/30/08). Five weeks after his birth, the family escaped a wildfire in which all worldly possessions were lost. The family relocated in December of 2008 to Agua Dulce CA where they currently reside.

Jack began to have unsettling symptoms at the age of 3; he was taken to Children's Hospital Los Angeles and was diagnosed with DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, on Friday Oct. 28, 2011, indisputably the darkest experience of Janet's life. The outrage of it made her determined to find the good in the situation, and she asked God to "Put me to work!" After Jack's death, she remained determined to start working to find solutions to DIPG and incorporated Jack's Angels at the end of 2012; the Foundation began its work in 2013. Despite the fact that DIPG is responsible for the majority of brain tumor deaths in children, she had been told there were no solutions for Jack because "the numbers aren't great enough for investors." This remains the primary motivation in her advocacy work, to prioritize children's lives in our medical system in the United States.