In 1965, The Beatles played Shea Stadium, Lyndon B. Johnson started his second term as president, “The Sound of Music” made its big-screen debut, and the division of pediatric hematology-oncology was established at Akron Children’s.
Fifty years later, Akron Children’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders has grown into one of the most robust in the country.
It’s ranked as one of the best pediatric cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and we’re only 1 of 5 hospitals in Ohio that offers bone marrow transplants.
As the center’s director, Dr. Jeffrey Hord, and the rest of his staff prepare to celebrate the division’s 50th anniversary on April 22, they reflect on all that’s been accomplished throughout the division’s history.
“So many advancements have been made in how we deliver care to our patients, which have been made possible through our participation in research activities,” said Dr. Hord. “In 1965, the overall survival rate for childhood cancer was less than 10 percent. Today, we’re at more than 85 percent. In the next 50 years, I want to see that rate go up to 100 percent.”
Since the division’s founding, nearly 2,500 children have been diagnosed and treated for cancer, 96 have undergone bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, and more than 1,100 cases have been enrolled in Children’s Oncology Group research protocols.
While much has changed during the last 50 years, one thing remains: a steadfast commitment to our patients and the delivery of high-quality, subspecialty care.
“We’ve been able to help bring the hospital from a primary care pediatric healthcare facility to one that provides – among many other things – very sub-specialized care to critically ill patients,” Dr. Hord said. “I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve all achieved, and we look forward to the next 50 years.”
As part of our year-long anniversary celebration, we’re telling the story of Akron Children’s through the eyes of past and present employees, doctors, donors, volunteers and patient families. We encourage you to share your own memories and stories about us.