Jamari Sanders’ mother, Sharenne Shumate, didn’t worry when Jamari returned with complaints of leg pain after a day of playing basketball at his uncle’s house. The eight-year-old said he had fallen, but Sharenne didn’t see any bones that appeared to be broken. Just to be sure, she took him to the nearest emergency room where doctors confirmed no broken bones, tendon or ligament tears. But two days later, when Jamari woke in the middle of the night in tears and complaining of pain, his mom knew something was very wrong.
After returning to a local doctor for more tests, Jamari was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the right femur, or cancer in his right thigh bone. This is the most common form of bone cancer in children. Worried about Jamari’s spirits, Sharenne focused on finding a doctor who could both heal her son and continue to treat him like the strong, outgoing, and active little boy he is.
Finding a care team
Sharenne immediately contacted experts at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush because she was familiar with Rush University Medical Center’s reputation. After a long visit, the family chose the team of Dr. Matthew Colman, orthopedic oncologist; Dr. Monica Kogan, pediatric orthopedic surgeon; Patti Piasecki, N.P., and Dr. Paul Kent, pediatric hemotology-oncology specialist at Rush University Medical Center. With the medical team decision made, Jamari and his family relocated from Wisconsin to Chicago to be closer to his care team.
As part of a carefully constructed treatment plan, Jamari began chemotherapy right away at Rush University Medical Center. Within a month, his tumor had shrunk by 95%, but Drs. Colman and Kogan discussed the importance of surgery to ensure that his cancer wouldn’t return. They approached Jamari’s family with two surgical options.