Rapid Autopsy


In Memoriam...


Spencer Grace was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.
Spencer Grace was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, medulloblastoma, when she was 17 months old. Despite the devastating news, Spencer's original prognosis was good and treatments were proving to be successful. In fact, after 9 months of chemotherapy, there was no evidence of disease and she was in remission. 6 short months later, however, an MRI showed that there was new tumor growth on her brain and spine, and her doctors recommended that she immediately start a more aggressive treatment plan. Although her new tumors initially reacted well to the stronger chemotherapy, we received the news on Spencer's 3rd birthday that chemotherapy was no longer effective and her tumors were rapidly spreading. It was confirmed that she could not be cured. Facing the reality that your child will not survive is all parents' worst fear. We were overcome with grief, but also vowed to do anything possible to help other children and families fighting this terrible disease. We learned from Spencer's doctors that Johns Hopkins Hospital has a Legacy Gift Rapid Autopsy Program through which tumors from terminally ill patients can be donated posthumously for research purposes. Live tumor cells are invaluable to researchers and are the best way to understand and better treat these diseases. Thus, we made the difficult decision to donate Spencer's tumors to science following her passing with the hope that her case will lead to better treatments and, one day, a cure.

Through the donation of Spencer's tumors and funds raised by our charity, The Spencer Grace Foundation, we have helped support ongoing medulloblastoma research conducted by doctors at Johns Hopkins. Their research continues to show great promise and we are hopeful that one day it will help save the next generation of children like Spencer. We find comfort and strength in knowing that Spencer's legacy will live on through her tumor donation, and that she is giving other children a better chance to live as they truly deserve. As Spencer's parents, it is our sincere hope that Spencer's story will inspire others to consider donating.