Chad’s story: Rhabdomyosarcoma

Chad Gruber was hoping to quarterback his football team at Reese High School his senior year. Instead, he found himself facing his toughest opponent yet: cancer.

After Chad talked with his doctor about a lump he found in his scrotum, tests showed he had a rare type of tumor called a rhabdomyosarcoma.

His doctor referred him to Dr. Erika Newman at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Gruber was seen in U-M’s new multidisciplinary Solid Tumor Oncology Program, a one-of-a-kind approach to care through which pediatric specialists who have deep experience with solid tumors treat patients as a team, providing a level of coordinated care not offered by any other children’s hospital in the nation.

The entire solid tumor program team meets together in an interactive tumor board conference once a week to discuss each patient’s treatment and challenge one another to think beyond “medicine as usual.”

block out cancer donate nowFor Chad and his family, that meant he quickly had a comprehensive treatment plan crafted by an entire team of specialists without all the waiting, phone tag and drawn out anxiety that can often face families at conventional pediatric cancer centers. Chad even had immediate access to fertility planning specialists who were able to offer fertility preservation options before he underwent surgery just two days after his first appointment with Dr. Newman.

“Everyone at U-M worked together so well, they all were in sync,” said Chad’s mom, Sue Gruber. “Everybody’s on the same page, everybody communicates.”

Even though Chad had to spend much of his senior year sitting on the sidelines, he never missed a game.  Most importantly – he’s back to full strength in the game of life.

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mott blog - BOC thumbBlock Out Cancer is a rallying cry for people from all walks of life to come together to support the fight against children’s cancers.  Everyone has a role to play.  Learn more about how you can help Block Out Cancer.


best children's hospitalUniversity of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.