18-year-old at Brenner Children’s Hospital with aggressive form of cancer makes heartbreaking choice

Buckley Report
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Most teenagers think they are invincible.

Hannah Hume quickly found out she wasn’t.

“When they came in, you could just see it on their face that something was wrong,” says Hannah.

At 18, she learned she was more like her mother than she realized. Hannah’s mother had an identical twin and both inherited a gene mutation from their father that lead to them developing a very aggressive form of cancer. The cancer killed Hannah’s mother, Karrie, when Karrie was 24.

“All I have is pictures,” says Hannah of her mother.

Karrie’s twin only lasted a few more years.

“It’s a very, very rare – there are very few cases in the country,” says Dr. Thomas Russell, Hannah’s pediatric oncologist at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“Because it’s such a rare disorder,” says Dr. Russell, “we’re not, here at Brenner Children’s Hospital, we’re not just living in the silo of our institution or our academic center. We’ve relied on experts throughout the world to figure out how to best care for Hannah.”

But that has still lead to some very difficult decisions for Hannah.

“Life isn’t easy,” she says. “There are struggles down the road that you’re going to have to deal with and some people say it gets easy, but it doesn’t.”

See the tough decision Hannah had to make, in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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