About Rhabdomyosarcoma The Gillie Beans FUNd is a tribute fund in honour of Gillian Berthelot raising money for Rhabdomyosarcoma research. Finding a cure, one jelly bean at a time!

Gillian was diagnosed with stage 4 Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma.  So what does that mean and how the heck do you pronounce that word? Rhab-dō-my-ō-sarcoma is a rare cancer that can be found in adults but it primarily affects children. In Canada each year approximately 55 children are diagnosed with this rare form of cancer. It is a tumour made up of muscle cells. It can present itself anywhere in the body but it is most commonly found in these areas: near the base of the neck, around the eye, the arms and legs, and within the urinary system or reproductive organs, known as the genitourinary system. Rhabdomyosarcoma is usually treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation, and when possible the tumour is surgically removed.

There are two subtypes found in children; Embryonal and Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Embryonal is the most common type and it occurs mostly in younger children. It is most often found around the eye, head, neck or the genitourinary system. The second subtype Alveolar, affects older children and teens. It is even more rare than Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma and it is often found in the arms or legs.

A stage of cancer is determined based on the size of the original tumour and if it has spread to other areas of the body. At diagnosis Gillian’s tumour measured 17cm x 15cm x 9cm and it had spread into both of her lungs.  Making it a stage 4 cancer.  Her primary tumour most likely originated in her bladder or her abdominal wall.

Approximately 320 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer each year at The Hospital For Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto. So much research into pediatric cancers is needed to help determine how healthy, young children are developing this devastating disease. Please help us to raise money for Rhabdomyosarcoma research and to spread awareness of childhood cancer.


Finding a cure. one jelly bean at a time!


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