Kids Fighting Cancer Celebrate Life at Miami Children's Museum

Danny Sarmiento, Paul Berman and Dr. Ziad Khatib talk to NBC 6 about cancer in children after they spent the day at Miami Children's Museum. (Published Sunday, June 3, 2012)

These kids are unlike other kids, they are warriors and fighters in the battle against cancer.

Children diagnosed with cancer spent the day at the Miami Children’s Museum for some fun and to get away from the needle sticks, the hospital stays and the nausea-causing chemo treatments they’ve already endured in their young lives.

Joe Edwards says that before taking TA-65 he couldn't drive and was tired all the time. But after a year on the supplement, the 73-year-old man says he has the energy of a much younger man. Studies have found that as people age, the tips of our chromosomes called "telomeres" shorten. In animal studies, shorter "telomeres" are linked to a shorter life span. The makers of TA-65, TA Sciences, say their supplement activates an enzyme that increases the length of "telomeres" or slows how fast they shorten. "If we can keep them long, it's a good thing, said Dr. Raymond Ishman, who recommends TA-65 to his patients. Cancer researcher Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa says "buyer beware," however. In general supplements like TA-65 should be avoided because they are not required to be tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration, he said. TA Sciences says there is no evidence their supplement causes unwanted cell overproduction, and says that the potential benefit outweighs any theoretical risk. (Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012)

The event celebrated National Cancer Survivor’s Day.

Doctors diagnosed 12-year-old Danny Sarmiento five years ago with a brain tumor.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center unveiled Alex's Place, a first of its kind clinic to try a child-focused approach. Children will be greeted by animated avatar and computer screens to distract them from the medical procedures. Hear from doctors and patients during the unveiling. (Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012)

“I don’t like going to the hospital. I just don’t like it,” Sarmiento said. “Like when I get out of the hospital I’m happy already.”

Click here to read a story about a brain cancer vaccine being tested in Miami.

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Seven-year old Colby Berman is now lymphoma-free after he was diagnosed as an 18-month-old baby.

“Basically from that point on our lives changed and it became difficult. It became focused around him,” said father Paul Berman. “We have two other children so the life part of life sort of went on hold and it was a survival mode for us. “

Doctors say treating cancer in children is much different than treating adults. The cancer’s make-up is different and so are the little patients.

“As pediatricians we enjoy taking care of kids because they are easier to handle than adults. Plus they are, it’s hard to express themselves so it’s harder to understand their needs and their concerns. So, it’s more challenging but it’s more exciting,” Dr. Ziad Khatib, a pediatric oncologist told NBC 6.

Sarmiento may be 12 years old but he says he already has a goal. “I know I’m going to stop this treatment and I’m going to go to school and I’m going be a normal kid.”

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