Just days before his third birthday, Christopher was diagnosed with kaposiform hemangioendothelioma, a tumor of the blood vessels, in his right femur and growth plate. The condition is so rare that Chris was the only child at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with it and no treatment protocol existed.
CHOP’s orthopaedic and oncology specialists worked together to come up with an effective treatment plan for Chris. He underwent chemotherapy for almost two years, countless hours of physical therapy and a total of eight surgeries, including a procedure by an orthopaedic surgeon to insert a plate to straighten his knee.
Now 20, Chris continues to be monitored through CHOP’s Cancer Survivorship Program, which helps patients navigate life after cancer and screens for any disease recurrence or long-term side effects. As a sophomore at Drexel University, Chris is studying entrepreneurship. In 2017, he co-founded Rex Riccardi, an online seller of unique pocket squares, with 10% of each sale donated to benefit oncology research at CHOP.
For almost his entire life, Chris has been cared for by teams at CHOP, with both the oncology and orthopaedics programs currently ranked as the #1 pediatric specialties in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. He’s deeply familiar with both the Main Campus — where as a toddler he was diagnosed and operated on, and where he goes for the Survivorship Clinic — and the Specialty Care & Surgery Center in King of Prussia, where he received most of his chemotherapy and physical therapy. “I live in West Chester, so I’m lucky that King of Prussia is very convenient,” he notes.
When kids like Chris show possible symptoms of cancer, their pediatricians often send them to CHOP’s Emergency Department to be diagnosed and then admitted. In the future, families undergoing this unimaginably stressful event will have the reassurance of knowing that many levels of cancer care will be available at CHOP’s hospital in King of Prussia.