My name is Augustine Eze and I have the privilege of serving as the Tissue Navigator at Children’s National Hospital. I came to D.C. for college at Georgetown University in 2012 and have continued to love every moment in our nation’s capital.
As an undergrad, I studied Biology with a focus in Global Health and have a graduate degree in Physiology and Biophysics. For the past two years, I have been involved in the clinical research field. Previously, I was involved in high-risk obstetrical and neonatal research and this is my first time becoming involved in cancer research.
When I learned about the position as a tissue navigator, I was immediately drawn to the unique role of conducting bench research and interacting with these families. In this position, I wanted to be able to work hand-in-hand with these resilient families in facilitating their desire to drive the research forward with their generous donation. I desire to work with these families and make their journey as impactful as possible.
Initiatives like GFAC and foundations like Swifty are important because they encourage families to do all they can in these exceedingly difficult situations. These initiatives allow families to help others going through a similar experience while allowing research to be done to find cures. In the heartbreaking premature end of a child’s life, the donations allow the family to battle cancer by progressing research. As families see the large impact of their donation, they will hopefully encourage others to consider making the same precious gift.
Tissue donation is an invaluable part of research. Without the abundant generosity of many families, pediatric cancer research would not have made the enormous leaps that is has over the past decade. And although the research is incredibly crucial, developing relationships and making meaningful impacts with each family is even more important.
A Simple Two-Step Process
For the family, once a decision has been made to donate, only two things are required. The first is written consent for the child to become a tissue donor, and the second is a single phone call to a tissue navigator at the time of a child’s death to initiate the process.