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At age 2, Marlee-Jo was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. She had a tumor in her thigh, and the cancer had spread to several parts of her body, so her care team at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford started her on chemotherapy. Social worker Akilah Burford worked closely with Marlee-Jo’s family to care for their every need. She clearly remembers the moment when they learned that the tumor in Marlee-Jo’s thigh was gone.

“That was a special moment for all of us and a huge win for the family. She was all set to have surgery to remove the tumor, but there was no tumor,” says Burford.

Marlee-Jo still needed more chemotherapy and rounds of radiation to eliminate the cancer. Treatment lasted more than a year, and the family is grateful for all of Burford’s support.