Patient Stories

Project Violet

Patient Stories

Dr. Jim Olson looks on as a mother and child hug

A little dancer who donated tissue for new tumor treatments.

A young man who gave back to the lab that helped save his life.

Read about some of the courageous kids who inspire Project Violet’s  “citizen science.”


Jess O' Dell knew her 10-year-old daughter, Violet, had two important things to say to Dr. Jim Olson during an appointment on an early summer day: "She said, 'You can say anything to me. Don't be afraid to tell me because I'm not afraid,'" she recalls. "And then she asked him: 'Am I going to die?'"

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It’s not just any 18-year-old who spends part of summer vacation working in a cutting-edge brain cancer research lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, but Seattle Preparatory School senior Max Hanson isn’t just any student: He has had firsthand experience with brain cancer. 

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It started with little things.

“She was really pale and not herself and, out of the blue, she developed night terrors,” said Marcia Jacobs of the symptoms her daughter Anjuli began to experience in May 2000, six months before the little girl’s fourth birthday.

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The emergency room doctor pulled Tim McKenna and his wife, Mary Ellen, into a small equipment room — a closet, really —  to give them the news. “We were at the ER for hours while they did a CT scan, then the doctor said, ‘I need to see you in this next room,’” said Tim McKenna, a 55-year-old architect from Springfield, Massachusetts. 

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It was a meeting of the mascots.

Blitz, the Seattle Seahawks’ beloved blue and green hawk, stood in the lobby of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Friday evening with his arm slung around Max Hanson, a senior at Seattle Preparatory School. 

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