Sullivan Butler

a child cancer survivor posing in a playground

Tell us about yourself:

I’m 13 and in the 7th grade at League City Intermediate.  I was born in League City and have lived here my whole life.  I have two younger brothers, Cashel and Finn.

a family of 5 posing in a forest

Tell us about your cancer diagnosis:

I was diagnosed when I was 10 with medulloblastoma. “Medullo” is brain cancer.  When the doctors found it, the tumor was the size of an egg and the cancer had spread down my spine.

What has your journey been like?

Hard.  My brain was damaged during my first surgery and I couldn’t walk anymore. Some of the doctors didn’t think I would ever walk again. I spent a year in a wheelchair. I had 30 radiation treatments. I had to lay very still on a platform while the beam passed over my brain and spine.  My hair fell out, I was sick all the time, and I felt terrible.  I didn’t realize how bad things could get until I started chemo. Chemo was very bad. I had to get a lot more chemo than for other cancers because the medicine has to cross the blood-brain barrier. I lived in the hospital for months. After I finished treatment, I spent a lot of time relearning how to walk and catching up with friends.

a child cancer survivor holding a toy in a hospital

How are you working to bring awareness to Childhood Cancer?

I do a lot of public speaking at conferences and government meetings. I read somewhere that people’s two biggest fears are public speaking and brain cancer. By the time I was 11, I had been through both!

What is St. Baldrick’s?

St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds pediatric cancer research. They chose me to be one of their childhood cancer ambassadors for 2019. One of the cool fundraising events they do is “brave the shave” which is where people raise money by shaving their heads!

Why is it so important to you to bring awareness to childhood cancer?

Childhood cancers can’t be treated with adult medicines, and the medicines they use are very old and hard on kids’ bodies. The doctors give drugs to kids they don’t give to adults anymore because they are too toxic and adults have better medicines now. I wish doctors would spend more time and money to make better medicines for kids with cancer.

What are your hobbies?

I like Legos, listening to music, going to theme parks, and watching TV. For my Make a Wish trip I visited the set of Gotham, my favorite TV show.

What are your future goals?

I want to become a civil engineer and design roller coasters.

What do you like to do in League City?

I like to ride my bike and go to parks around the city.

Favorite place to eat in League City?

Ocean Sushi. I couldn’t eat sushi while I was on treatment because I didn’t have an immune system. The day the doctors told me I was allowed to eat sushi my parents took me to Ocean Sushi.

Favorite park in League City?

League Park – it’s got a cool turtle pond, and you can watch the trains go by.

How would you describe yourself?

Having brain cancer is hard. A lot of people call me brave or strong, but I don’t feel that way. I get scared just like anyone else. Any time another cancer kid asks me for advice, I tell them to try to stay positive and take things one day at a time. 

If you would like to support pediatric brain cancer research, contact dan.butler@medulloresearch.org.