Meet Summer!

Summer is the 2017 Race Captain for the RBC Race for the Kids at Comer Children's


  Young dancer takes on cancer

Chemotherapy can't sideline Summer. The fifth-grader, diagnosed with leukemia in January 2016, just earned a spot on her community dance team with the can-do spirit she shares with her UChicago Medicine team.

Summer was nine when she spiked a 105-degree fever in late 2015. Pediatric cancer expert Jennifer McNeer, MD, MS, ordered tests to determine whether Summer’s premature birth (at 27 weeks), which was the cause of periodic health issues over the years, or another underlying issue should be addressed. McNeer’s approach proved the latter true: Summer was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a fast-spreading cancer of the white blood cells.

McNeer and nurse practitioner Kelly Kramer, RN, MSN, collaborated on an intense, two-year chemotherapy regimen and relapse-prevention program to save Summer's life. The clinicians, who divide their time between the Hyde Park hospital and UChicago Medicine at Edward Hospital in Naperville, arranged for appointments at Edward as often as possible for the family’s convenience.

Summer's parents booked a limousine to bring their daughter to her first treatment, a memory their now 11-year-old regards as a highlight of this time in her life, next to the pajama parties thrown by Child Life specialists at Comer Children’s. With much tenacity, the tiny dancer is back on her feet and making excellent progress. She is back at school full time while she continues chemotherapy treatments and a medical regimen to help her manage its side effects. Summer is very much living up to her motto: “Just keep swimming.”