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Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders

Our specially trained and certified oncology staff treats a variety of pediatric cancers and offers a broad range of expertise in cancer and bleeding disorders. Studies have shown that the survival rates for infants, children, teens and young adults treated at a pediatric cancer center are greater than those at an adult hospital.

From the type of cancer to the cause, pediatric cancers are very different from adult cancers. And since they're relatively uncommon, it's important to have a dedicated oncology team whose members have spent their careers specializing in the care of all forms of childhood cancers. Studies have shown that the survival rates for infants, children, teens and young adults treated at a pediatric cancer center are greater than those at an adult hospital. 

A Team Approach

It takes a team to diagnose and treat children, teens and young adults with cancer and bleeding or clotting disorders. Our team includes board-certified pediatric hematologists-oncologists, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, certified pediatric oncology nurses, pharmacists, clinical research associates, child life specialists, social workers, psychologists and educators.

We also work closely with other specialty departments at Akron Children’s as needed, such as surgery, pathology, radiology, pain management, nutrition, adolescent medicine, physical therapy, palliative care and genetics.

Advancing Cures

On average, we care for 8 newly diagnosed children with cancer each month. The most common types of cancer are leukemia, brain and central nervous system cancers.

Our division also actively participates in national clinical trials for childhood cancer and blood disorders and explores the causes and treatment of these diseases through our basic science research program.

As a member of Children’s Oncology Group (COG), we participate in the development of National Cancer Institute-approved treatment protocols and offer the most up-to-date cancer therapies. Our program is one of only about a dozen pediatric cancer programs in the country verified by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

As a major teaching institution affiliated with Northeast Ohio Medical University, we also train future doctors who want to specialize in pediatric hematology-oncology through our accredited fellowship training program.

Matching A Patient With Treatment

For children and teens with high-risk tumors or cancers that have been unresponsive to standard treatment options, we offer individualized therapies through our Shannon E. Wilkes Targeted Therapy Program. This form of medicine uses information about the genetic make-up of a patient's cancer to identify drugs or other treatments that block the growth and spread of cancer.

Targeted therapies are typically less harmful to normal cells than standard chemotherapy. 

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Overview

SPECIALIZED TEAMS FOR:
Cancer Survivorship
Hemostasis & Thrombosis
Sickle Cell
Bone Marrow Transplant
Pediatric Brain Tumor Program

National leader in improving quality and safety in Hematology-Oncology


In 2019, the Showers Family Center served patients from 32 counties in Ohio and 7 other states!

Jeffrey Hord, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Hord has been practicing since 1995 and joined Akron Children’s in 1999. He serves as the Director of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and the LOPen Charities and Mawaka Family Chair in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Kentucky, he completed his residency at The Ohio State University and fellowship at Vanderbilt University. He has a special interest in oncology, hematology, oncology supportive care, practice management, and reducing central line associated blood stream infections. Dr. Hord is board-certified in pediatric hematology-oncology. 

Meet Jeffrey Hord, MD

John Fargo, DO

Dr. John Fargo has been in practice since 2013 and joined Akron Children’s as a pediatric hematologist-oncologist. After receiving his medical degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, he completed his residency at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Maricopa Medical Center and fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center. He has a special interest in hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, platelet disorders and other bleeding disorders, and bone marrow failure syndromes. Dr. Fargo is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology. 

Meet John Fargo, DO

Erin Wright, MD

Dr. Erin Wright has been in practice since 2019. After receiving her medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), she completed her residency at the University South Florida, followed by a neuro-oncology fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and a hematology-oncology fellowship at Akron Children’s Hospital. She has a special interest in brain and spinal cord tumors, neurofibromatosis/tumor predisposition syndromes, and targeted therapies. Dr. Wright is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology. 

Meet Erin Wright, MD

Sarah Rush, MD

Dr. Sarah Rush has been practicing since 2010 and joined Akron Children’s in 2013. She serves as the Chief Medical Information Officer, the Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth, the Director of Neuro-oncology and the VP of Informatics. After receiving her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati, she completed her residency at Akron Children’s Hospital and fellowships at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. She has a special interest in pediatric neuro-oncology and neurocutaneous disorders. Dr. Rush is board-certified in pediatric hematology-oncology. Sarah Rush, MD, chief medical information officer at Akron Children’s Hospital, joined the hospital in 2013 as a pediatric oncologist specializing in the treatment of children with brain and spinal cord tumors and has been an active member of the hospital’s physician informatics group since 2016.

Meet Sarah Rush, MD

Stephanie Savelli, MD

Dr. Stephanie Savelli has been practicing since 2006. She joined Akron Children’s as an attending physician and serves as the Director of the Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist Fellowship Program and the Survivorship and Late Effects Program. After receiving her medical degree from State University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, she completed her residency at the Cleveland Clinic and fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has a special interest in childhood cancer survivorship and late effects, bleeding disorders in women, and thrombotic disorders. Dr. Savelli is board-certified in pediatric hematology-oncology. 

Meet Stephanie Savelli, MD

Steven Kuerbitz, MD

Dr. Steven J. Kuerbitz has been in practice since 1991 and joined Akron Children’s in 2001. After receiving his medical degree from Wayne State University, he completed his residency at Indiana University/Purdue University of Indiana and the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children and fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has a special interest in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, cancer genetics/epigenetics, and drug resistance in osteosarcoma. Dr. Kuerbitz is board-certified in pediatric hematology-oncology. 

Meet Steven Kuerbitz, MD

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Locations

Contact Cancer and Blood Disorders

330-543-8580

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Cancer and Blood Disorders
Akron Children's Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders
214 West Bowery Street
Akron, Ohio 44308
Fax: 330-543-3220
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Map & directions
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Cancer and Blood Disorders, Boardman
Akron Children's Hospital Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, Boardman
Building A
6505 Market Street
Boardman, Ohio 44512
Fax: 330-746-9523
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Map & directions

Our Doctors/Providers

Department Heads:
Jeffrey Hord
Jeffrey Hord, MD

Director, Division of Hematology-Oncology; Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist; LOPen Charities and Mawaka Family Chair in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (Honoring Dr. Jeffrey Hord)

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Physicians/Providers:

Prasad Bodas, MD

Director, Sickle Cell Program; Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist

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John Fargo, DO

Director, Hemostasis and Thrombosis Center; Director, Divisional Quality Improvement; Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist

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Laura Gerak, PhD

Pediatric Psychologist

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Steven Kuerbitz, MD

Director, Divisional Research, Stem Cell Transplantation & Shannon E. Wilkes Targeted Therapy Program; The Jeffrey A. Barbour Chair for Pediatric Hematology Oncology Research and Healing; Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist

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Daniel Pettee, DO

Director, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program; Director, Solid Tumor Program; Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist

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Sarah Rush, MD

Chief Medical Information Officer; Director, Neuro-Oncology; Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist; Marci M. Matthews Endowed Chair in Telehealth

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Megan Sampson, MD

Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist

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Stephanie Savelli, MD

Director, Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program; Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist

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Erin Wright, MD

Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist; Director, Shannon E. Wilkes Targeted Therapy Program; Co-Director, Neurofibromatosis Clinic

Accepting New Patients

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Mallory Zehe, PsyD

Pediatric Psychologist

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Nurse Practitioners/Physician Assistants:

Lauren Beck, MSN, APRN-CNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Courtney Culbertson, MSN, APRN-CNP

Stem Cell Transplant Program Coordinator; Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Julia Golden, MSN, APRN-CNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Ashley Heath, MSN, APRN-CNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Jamie Jordan, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Alexis Judd, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Rebecca Kelley, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Faith Lanshe, MSN, APRN-CNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Allison Orf, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Valerie Senko, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Ann Stratton, MSN, APRN-CNP

Lead Hematology-Oncology Advance Practice Provider

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Terri Vaccarelli, PA-C

Physician Assistant

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Amanda Watson, MSN, APRN-CNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Drew Westfall, MSN, APRN-CNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Open Clinical Studies

Apixaban for Prevention of Blood Clots in Children With Leukemia

The purpose of this study is to compare the effect of a blood thinning drug called Apixaban versus no administration of a blood thinning drug, in preventing blood clots in children with leukemia or lymphoma. Patients must be receiving chemotherapy; including Pegylated L-Asparaginase and have a central line (a catheter inserted for administration of medications and blood sampling).

Complete study information:  https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02369653

More about this study...


Currently recruiting

Neuroblastoma Biology Studies

For complete study information, please visit clinicalstudies.gov.

More about this study...


Currently recruiting


Currently recruiting

A Registry for Adult and Pediatric Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Since chronic ITP of children and adults shows similarities a common database is needed to coordinate scientific activities in the field of ITP.  Clinical Data, bleeding symptoms and management will be observed continuously by long term follow-up over several years with the goal to recruit as many patients as possible.

Click here to access the database.

More about this study...


Currently recruiting

Combination Chemotherapy in Treating Younger Patients With Newly Diagnosed Hodgkin Lymphoma

For complete study information, please view the study on clincaltrials.gov.

More about this study...


Currently recruiting

Community Counts - The Registry for Bleeding Disorders Surveillance

The purpose of this project is to gather and share information about common health issues, medical complications, and causes of death that affect people with bleeding disorders cared for in the U.S. Hemophilia Treatment Centers (HTCs). Community Counts aims to continue the work of the Universal Data Collection System, which ended in 2011.

For complete information, please visit the Registry website.

More about this study...


Currently recruiting

The Severe Chronic Neutropenia International Registry (SCNIR)

This registry is to establish a global database of treatment and disease-related outcomes for persons diagnosed with SCN. Collection of this information will lead to improved medical care and is used for research to determine the causes of neutropenia.

SCNIR website.

 

More about this study...


Currently recruiting

Selumetinib in Treating Young Patients With Recurrent or Refractory Low Grade Glioma

For complete details, please view the study on clinicaltrials.gov.

Study in conjunction with Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

More about this study...


Currently recruiting


Currently recruiting

https://www.akronchildrens.org/files/COVID-Inforgraphic.html

What Should Families Expect When They Come for an Appointment?

At Akron Children’s, your child’s health and safety is our priority. Please continue to bring your child for wellness visits, vaccinations or sick care appointments that keep children healthy. We want to assure you that we have taken additional precautions to ensure a safe environment for your child and family. The following are additional safety efforts, in addition to our normal cleaning protocols, that we are taking to help you be comfortable bringing your child to an appointment.

Limiting the Number of Caregivers and Face Covering

The number of caregivers permitted to accompany a child to an appointment is dependent on the department you are visiting. Everyone visiting an Akron Children's facility is asked to wear masks or face coverings, except for kids under 2 or those with sensory issues. Masks will be provided for visitors who do not bring their own.

Health Screening Station Ahead Sign

Checking In and Screening of Visitors

Akron Children's now offers Mobile Check-in to limit your exposure to others. You'll receive a text an hour before your child's appointment arrival time. Click the link in the text when you reach the Akron Children's facility for your child's appointment. You will receive a confirmation text that reminds you to wait in your car. Once we determine appropriate spacing is available inside the building, you'll receive a third text to let you know it's OK to come in for your appointment.

Immediately upon entering the building, your temperature will be taken, either by a thermal scanner or a greeter who will also ask you a few questions.

If you are in a waiting room, you’ll notice signs and a limited number of chairs. This is to remind our patients to keep 6 feet of physical distance between your family and others.

Precautions If You Suspect Your Child Has COVID-19

Call your child’s healthcare professional if your child is sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Your health care professional will work with Ohio’s public health department and the CDC to determine if your child needs to be tested for COVID-19.

View all the safety precautions Akron Children's is taking.

Family Support

Akron Children’s Hospital offers many resources to support for our cancer patients and their loved ones, not only while going through treatment but ongoing.