11/20/2012 08:10 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

St. Jude Thanks and Giving: Brennan's Story


I'd like you to meet Brennan. He's a terrific little boy with a great smile and big dreams. He is also a patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and part of our annual Thanks & Giving campaign, and his story is one of several we're featuring on the TODAY show this week.

Brennan is a bright and talented, 10-year-old junior golfer who loves watching the PGA and was thrilled to meet the Tour's stars -- whom he describes as his "heroes" -- during their stop for the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June of 2011. He also played Augusta National at the age of seven, which is a lifetime dream for almost every adult golfer.

But for his mom and dad, Brennan is their hero because of the courage and strength he displays every day. Brennan has acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is an extremely difficult type of leukemia to treat. In fact, his parents were told by their local hospital there was no hope. And so they searched nationwide for a place that could provide hope for Brennan. That search led them to St. Jude.
Since beginning treatment, Brennan has been through a lot. He has experienced several relapses and received four bone marrow treatments -- something so pioneering that most other hospitals won't attempt it. Brennan is still in the fight of his life, and his story illustrates how families are given renewed hope when they come to St. Jude, thanks to our cutting-edge research.

Despite three unsuccessful bone marrow transplants, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital did not give up on Brennan. The one-of-a-kind treatment he received included a bold fourth transplant. St. Jude did the procedure with a half-match parent donor, and Brennan is alive more than one year later. This one-of-a-kind treatment, developed at St. Jude, uses a patient's own Natural Killer cells. It is in clinical trial, and if the trial is successful, it will profoundly impact how children with cancer everywhere are treated in the future.

St. Jude saved Brennan's life, and golf gave Brennan the will to live. Today, he has developed friendships with well-known pro golfers and his enthusiasm for the sport is as strong as ever. And that's why I wanted you to meet Brennan -- the little boy who was once given weeks to live--now, he's playing golf with the pros.

If you find Brennan's story inspiring, please consider donating to St. Jude's.

Friends of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital