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Cancer Survivor Becomes Father’s Advocate

How One Daughter Helped Her Father Overcome Cancer

When her father Winston was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Chiara Rodgers immediately knew where to go for treatment. Not only is Chiara an adult survivor of childhood cancer, she is also an advocate for her own long-term health as part of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University’s STAR (Survivors Taking Action and Responsibility) Program.

As a child, Chiara was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor, the most common type of kidney cancer in children. Her experience as a patient at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital) inspired her own career in clinical research. As part of the STAR Program, Chiara remains committed to protecting her health through long-term follow-up care and monitoring. Additionally, she has been part of the National Wilms Tumor Study since 1991, when her cancer went into remission.

Chiara found herself in a new supporting role when Winston was diagnosed and treated by Lurie Cancer Center urologist James M. Kozlowski, MD, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In a twist of fate, Winston’s radiation oncologist, John Kalapurakal, MD, had helped write the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for her own Wilms tumor treatment. “I remember my father by my side during my treatment as a kid. This time, I was with him at every doctor’s appointment as well as every radiation treatment,” says Chiara.

Winston’s cancer treatment was successful, and today, both Chiara and Winston continue to share their stories to help others. Chiara and her family have attended the Cancer Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K since its inception in 1993. In addition to celebrating and honoring cancer survivors, the event celebrates and supports advances in early detection and treatment based on groundbreaking research. “My family and I have participated in the annual Survivors’ Celebration Walk & 5K since it started. Now that my father is a more recent survivor, the celebration is very dear to my family. I can’t wait for us to share that together. I can’t explain the joy I’ll feel walking with my father,” she says.

Learn more about the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and its dedication to scientific discovery, advancing medical knowledge, providing state-of-the-art cancer care, education and support for patients, their families and the community.