On New Year’s Eve 2014 Benjamin Gilkey, 7, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His treatment would illustrate that even the most common of pediatric cancers can come with unique sets of challenges.
Benjamin’s case soon fell into the “very high risk” category after his leukemia was slow to achieve remission. He developed an extreme toxicity to one of his chemotherapeutic medicines. A rare genetic predisposition was discovered that revealed not only the cause of his leukemia, but also the reality that other cancers were likely to follow.
In September 2016, Benjamin suffered a relapse from which he would not recover. The team at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital was creative and relentless in their pursuit of new medicines and groundbreaking clinical trials. Despite their best efforts, in February 2017, Benjamin died, surrounded by his family and a team of incredible nurses.
During Benjamin’s long hospitalization, his parents watched the construction of the Johns Hopkins All Children's Research and Education Building from their seventh floor window. They dreamed about what would transpire within those walls that might cause other families to find hope where their hope ended. From those dreams, The Benjamin Gilkey Fund for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research was born.