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New Jersey girl cancer-free after clinical trial funded by Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation

New Jersey girl cancer-free after clinical trial funded by Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
New Jersey girl cancer-free after clinical trial funded by Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation 03:42

VOORHEES N.J. (CBS) - A little girl is cancer-free today after going through a clinical trial funded by Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. She had the same type of cancer as Alex Scott, who dreamed that all children could be cured of cancer.

CBS News Philadelphia's Natasha Brown got to visit 5-year-old Arden at her home in Voorhees. Arden could barely sit still. She was excited to show Brown a picture she drew for her and wanted to explore our photographer's camera.


Her parents Megan and David Saenz are overjoyed to see her happiness. It's a sight they did not think they would see when Arden was just 16 months old in 2019. 

"She'd been experiencing some low-grade fevers and tummy issues at daycare," Megan Saenz said. "So we brought her in to the pediatrician and he felt something on her left side."

Megan said the doctor sent them straight to the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania. In the middle of the night, she rode the elevator to the third floor.

"The elevator doors opened and it said, 'oncology and bone marrow transplant unit' and I just lost all my emotions, started crying, and asked the first nurse I saw, 'Does my baby have cancer?"

It was a gut-wrenching, life-changing diagnosis: neuroblastoma. The family quickly decided with her doctors to start Arden on a path of clinical trials to target the specific and rare mutation of her tumor.

"Thankfully, that decision both helped her immediately but also kept open the door for doing a clinical trial which was funded by Alex's Lemonade Stand which targeted the very specific neuroblastoma cancer that she has," said David Saenz.

After several years of treatment, the family found progress and hope in the clinical trials. 

"She was only the second child at CHOP that had this mutation. So when I started researching, the first thing I saw was an Alex's Lemonade story," Megan Saenz said. "It just gave us tremendous hope that there was another little girl out there who took this drug and she was, I believe at the time, 10 years cancer-free, so that was a real spark of hope in an otherwise pretty dark time."

Some of Arden's darkest days over the years finally turned to light. Just last week, they got the best news of all: "Arden had scans and she is four years cancer-free," her mom said.  

The family has become passionate supporters of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. They have hosted numerous stands of their own, incorporating lemonade-themed adornments to their attire and home. Everything to pay it forward so that other children have a chance at life.

"That's the lifesaver. So I think we really have a purpose in continuing to spread awareness, continuing to make sure that organizations like Alex's can fund their research," Megan Saenz said. "And putting money in the hands of the researchers who have dedicated their lives to this population is the way to do that, and that's the light at the end of the tunnel."

CBS Philadelphia will host the 18th annual "Alex Scott: a Stand for Hope Telethon" on Thursday.

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