Brendan Davis

My name is Brendan Davis, I am 29 years old and grew up in the Kirkwood area. I graduated from CBC and then from the University of Missouri. I enjoy all things outdoors, being active, golf, Mizzou football, and hanging with my dog, Chicharito.

In late 2017/ early 2018, I knew something was not right with my health. After meeting with a few different doctors and having no luck diagnosing the problem, I decided to insist on a colonoscopy as one of the last-ditch efforts. During the colonoscopy, it was discovered that I had colon cancer and after getting additional scans, I was diagnosed with stage IV, as it had spread to my liver.

The first couple of days after being diagnosed was completely chaotic, however, I was put in touch with some specialists from Siteman and instantly knew it was the place I needed to be. I was very fortunate to get set up with an incredible team, who has been supportive and provided me with a sense of confidence since day one. I have been going through treatment for about a year and know that all of Siteman’s resources and staff are part of the reason I’m still here and have the belief that I will be cancer free in the near future. There are few cancer hospitals that strive to really make a difference and be supportive in all aspects of a patient’s journey, and luckily we have one here in St. Louis in Siteman.

Peyton Wuennenberg

Have you ever felt like life was great and all was well and then suddenly you just run full speed into a brick wall?

Shortly after Thanksgiving 2014, Peyton, a happy, healthy, energetic nine-year-old fourth grader, received the State of Washington as her assigned state to research for the Annual State Fair project. Actually, it is more than a project… it is a fixation for fourth graders at Ascension Catholic School. Sharing the excitement of this assignment, Peyton’s family of four booked a trip to Seattle for Spring Break.

In search of some family fun and to do some up-close and personal research, Peyton and her family flew to Seattle on March 17th. The next morning, while walking up Pike Place, Peyton complained a couple of times stating “Mom, my shoulder hurts” but mom blew off her complaints. The rest of the day more symptoms piled up--including loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, and a fever. Peyton tried her best to enjoy the rest of the Seattle trip despite these symptoms and upon returning to St. Louis endured several doctor visits and three sets of bloodwork (THREE times to deal with a needle in your arm is NOT a happy set of moments for a nine-year-old).

On April 15th, Peyton was admitted to a west St. Louis County hospital via the emergency room and spent several days there for testing. She was diagnosed with advanced pneumonia and leukemia. Upon hearing the word leukemia, Peyton’s mom requested an immediate transfer to St. Louis Children’s Hospital (a nationally ranked children’s hospital AND home of the Siteman Kids clinic).

Peyton arrived late Friday night via a quiet, anxiety-filled ambulance. The first inpatient nurse at Siteman Kids welcomed Peyton with tremendous bedside manner, and introduced her to fighting cancer firsthand because she too was undergoing chemotherapy--fighting her own cancer. Soon, Peyton’s official diagnosis was confirmed as being “pre B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia” and it came with a very lengthy treatment plan.

During the course of Peyton’s 28 months of treatment, Peyton endured: a port placement surgery, weekly Siteman Kids clinic visits, 17 spinal taps, five inpatient stays totaling 37 days, 48 port accesses and a port removal surgery. Friends and relatives constantly commented about how remarkable Peyton endured everything--always with a genuine smile while at the Siteman Kids clinic or in the surgery center. Peyton’s smile and attitude were directly linked to the stellar employees of Siteman Kids. The doctors, nurses and staff truly treat patients like family. St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Specialty Care Center felt like a home away from home to Peyton.

Siteman Kids essentially saved Peyton’s life while sustaining her family’s sanity and medical faith. Countless children and their families are saved and soothed by the Siteman Kids staff daily. St. Louisans are extremely blessed to have Siteman Kids and Siteman Cancer Center in such close proximity.

Elizabeth Mannen

It’s hard to think of a time when Siteman hasn’t been part of my life. While there are moments and sometimes even full days that this doesn’t seem fair, most days I know my good fortune and the richness of my blessings.

Elizabeth Mannen, left, at Sing for Siteman 2015

Elizabeth Mannen, left, at Sing for Siteman 2015

For me, cancer has given me much more than it’s taken. Cancer has given me clarity, focus, determination, candor, and a keen appreciation for the ironic. No matter how many times, five and counting, that cancer’s come knocking, I still find myself lamenting a “bad hair day” from time to time before I catch myself and remember what it’s like to have a “no hair day.”

Siteman is a fortress and Sing for Siteman one of its important castle keeps. The answer to cancer is research, Sing for Siteman raises dollars for the Discovery Fund that allows groundbreaking research. The connection for me to Siteman and Sing for Siteman is multifaceted. Music is a healing art that provokes great emotion whether I play it, sing along to it, dance to it, or simply listen to it. That Sing for Siteman raises money for the institution that has stood next to me through my battles with ovarian cancer, breast cancer and all that comes with it and after it, makes it an event worth singing about!

Richelle Weisbrod

When a routine check-up results in a hospital stay, urgent tests and new doctors, you fear that this is the day you will be in the wrong statistics category. I was holding hands tightly with my husband and our very pregnant only child when we learned the devastating news that my breast cancer had metastasized in my bones. I wept and asked if I would live to meet my first grandchild, due in just 8 weeks. My Siteman oncologist of course immediately built and implemented an aggressive medical protocol.

For me, treating my body wasn't enough. I needed much more support. And I got it. I was treated spiritually and emotionally through Siteman counseling services, individually and in classes; I was given the sense of control I needed by discussions of the implications of all of my test results; Siteman helped me be an active participant in my plan of care through mychart, nutritional and exercise services. Siteman gave me knowledge, empowerment, strength, and hope.

I was with my family for the birth of my grandson. I am an integral part of my family's daily lives. I am able to mentor my daughter as she begins this new incredible chapter in her life as a mother. I can play with my grandson. I am now, and hope to be for a very long time, my grandson's Gigi, thanks to Siteman's holistic approach, treating the entire person and their family, while fighting this terrible disease.