39-year-old cancer survivor gives back to St. Jude - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

39-year-old cancer survivor gives back to St. Jude

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Much of that improvement is due to the ongoing research at St. Jude and former patients who continue to give back. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Much of that improvement is due to the ongoing research at St. Jude and former patients who continue to give back. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Twenty-four years ago he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer.  (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Twenty-four years ago he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - When St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened in 1962, the overall cancer survival rate for children was 20 percent, compared to 80 percent today.

Much of that improvement is due to the ongoing research at St. Jude and former patients who continue to give back.

Scott Hinshelwood, 39, has been roaming the halls of St. Jude for a long time. Twenty-four years ago he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. He was a freshman in high school at the time.

"I had a sore ankle, and just like any other teenage boy, it took my mom to go to the doctor and get it looked at. It turned out it was a tumor," he said.

Fortunately doctors caught the tumor in his ankle before it spread, but Hinshelwood had to have his left leg amputated below the knee.

"It was very traumatic, but I think the thing that made it easier, the physical therapist at St. Jude, the prosthetic maker, said 'Hey, it's up to you. If you want to play basketball, if you want to run, anything you want to do is up to you. You just have to put your mind to it. We're going to build you a great leg. You're just gonna have to start working to get back into shape and live whatever dream you want to live," said Hinshelwood.

And Hinshelwood is living his dream at St Jude. He works with the media, and gives back to the hospital by helping raise money through ALSAC, the hospital's fundraising organization.

"There's no better feeling than waking up in the morning and helping the place that saved your life."

Hinshelwood is also part of the St. Jude LIFE and After Completion of Therapy Clinic, which means he is still being followed by doctors and the research team at St Jude. Dr. Tim Folse is the clinic's director.

"We focus our evaluation on the risks their treatment may have caused them: radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, maybe bone marrow transplants. And there are specific risks for each one," said Folse.

Following the patients long after their treatment helps researchers identify problems that may lead to better treatments in the future.

"The youngest patient we're seeing in the St. Jude life program is 19. The oldest in the program is 72."

Dr. Folse has been at St Jude for six years and calls this his most rewarding work.

"I feel like my work matters. I'm uplifted every time I talk to someone like Scott."

Hinshelwood is one of the many success stories at St. Jude. He was cancer free by age 24, after 10 years of treatments and checkups.

And while it has not always been easy, Hinshelwood is thankful for the opportunities St. Jude has given him.

"I'm married with three wonderful kids. So I can't complain. I'm blessed beyond belief, and I get to wake up every morning and raise money for St Jude. I'm alive because of St. Jude," he said.

It costs almost $2 million dollars per day to operate St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Public contributions pay for about 75 percent of those costs, and no family pays for care that is not covered by insurance.

Click here to buy your ticket online: http://www.stjude.org/dhmemphis.

You can help by getting a ticket for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. But time is running out, you only have until Sunday. One hundred percent of the ticket price goes to helping families at St. Jude.

To purchase your tickets, call 1-800-224-6681. The winners will be announced Sunday, starting at 3 p.m.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved. 
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