University of Minnesota

Cancer cured for young boy

U of M Amplatz Children's Hospital provides patients like Kurt the treatment, technology, and professionals they need to fight cancer.

October 23, 2013

Kurt Timmons says he will never forget his last week of elementary school. He was 13 years old, and instead of looking forward to summer vacation and spending time with friends, Kurt was kept busy with doctor visits to determine the cause of a lump on his neck.

Kurt’s pediatrician referred him to University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital for further evaluation and tests. Kurt and his family first met with pediatric oncologist Joseph Neglia. Dr. Neglia diagnosed him with lymphoblastic lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin cancer. He recommended that Kurt start a six-month regimen of chemotherapy treatment immediately.

While undergoing treatment, Kurt, an avid athlete, continued his favorite sport of wrestling. “The biggest thing I missed during my treatment was never feeling better than OK. I never felt great or even good,” Kurt recalls.

Long-term care

Kurt completed his treatments and is now a patient at the Cancer Survivor Program at the Masonic Cancer Clinic.

The Cancer Survivor Program provides patients with access to physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who specialize in the needs of survivors and can provide a multidisciplinary clinical assessment. Evaluations include a comprehensive treatment review and summary, physical examination, referrals to subspecialty care as needed, neuropsychological screening, social services, and educational materials concerning the long-term risks of treatment.

Kurt and his parents say they are thankful for the care they received at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. “We can’t say enough about Dr. Neglia and the rest of the team that cared for Kurt and our family,” says Sue, Kurt’s mother. “We also appreciated their honest communication, which helped to prepare us for what was ahead.”

With his health back on track, Kurt went on to compete in the 2009 Minnesota State High School Wrestling Tournament, where his team won the Class A championship.

Now 22, Kurt has been cancer free for nearly eight years. He lives in Alexandria, Minnesota, where, he says, “I’m healthy as a horse, stubborn as a mule, and happy as a rabbit.”

At University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, kids with cancer receive innovative treatments and benefit from new technology that they can’t get anywhere else. For the sixth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks cancer treatment at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital among the best in the nation.

Watch the interview with cancer survivor Kurt Timmons.

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