Dr. Jennifer Arnold, co-star of “The Little Couple” and a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, will be the guest speaker at CURE® magazine’s 3rd Annual MPN Heroes™ recognition event on Friday, Dec. 4, prior to the annual meeting of hematologists.
Dr. Arnold stands at just 3 foot 2 inches and has a rare type of dwarfism called Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia Type Strudwick, for which she has undergone more than 30 surgeries. TLC's docudrama, “The Little Couple,” follows the personal and professional lives of Dr. Arnold, her husband Bill and their two children, Will and Zoey. Dr. Arnold also has been involved in healthcare simulation education for the last eight years and is now the medical director of a state-of-the-art simulation center at Texas Children’s Hospital, where she is a practicing physician at the largest NICU in the country.
In December 2013, Dr. Arnold revealed she had cancer, a rare type of cancer stemming from an abnormal pregnancy: gestational trophoblastic neoplasm. She underwent surgery in addition to chemotherapy for 3 months before going into remission. Dr. Arnold will share her experiences and talk about the importance of a supportive community for those afflicted with a rare disease. She, like the people with MPNs, understands the loneliness of having a rare disease, with few like people to talk with and limited treatment options.
At the 2014 MPN Heroes Recognition Gala, CURE was pleased to have actor and advocate Chip Esten as the event's special guest speaker.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Charles "Chip" Esten was raised in Alexandria, VA and attended T.C. Williams High School (made famous in the film “Remember the Titans.”) He then attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, where he graduated with a degree in economics and met his eventual wife, Patty. While in Williamsburg, he was lead singer/songwriter in a popular local band.
Esten made his theatrical debut in London when he portrayed Buddy Holly, singing, acting and playing guitar in the hit West End musical “Buddy.” In that role he was honored to perform for H.R.M Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and eventually President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush at The White House. He was also very honored to perform with Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin, Buddy’s original hitmaking bandmates, the Crickets.
It was during his run as Buddy that Esten first appeared on the original British version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” with Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops. When “Whose Line” came to ABC, he became a recurring cast member and frequent song improvisor. Since then he has appeared on Drew Carey’s Improvaganza and toured frequently, performing live improv shows with Stiles, Proops and Jeff B. Davis.
Esten’s many additional television credits include recurring roles on “Big Love,” “Enlightened,” “The Office” and “ER.” Besides being the father on Disney Channel’s “Jessie,” he has been a Klingon on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” a secretary on “Murphy Brown” and Kelly Bundy’s fiance on the series finale of “Married with Children.” His film credits include “Swing Vote,” “Thirteen Days,” “61*” and “The Postman.”
While on "Nashville”, Esten has been honored to perform at the Grand Ole Opry and the historic Ryman auditorium. He was also honored to officially "flip the switch" at the 2013 Graceland Christmas Lighting ceremony. Many of the songs he has performed as Deacon (Undermine, Sideshow, Playin' Tricks, etc..) are available on the three very successful "Nashville" soundtracks that have been released to date.
Over a decade ago, Esten’s life was turned upside down when his then 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Addie, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer that affects the body's white blood cells. The disease, which is generally highly treatable in children, was detected after Esten and his wife, Patty brought Addie to the pediatrician for a small rash of red spots. Addie underwent weekly spinal taps and a grueling two-year course of chemotherapy. She also participated in several clinical trials, which rendered her unable to walk for six months and forced her into intensive care. With his daughter now 14 and in remission Esten and his family have dedicated themselves to helping other families of sick children with blood cancers.
Click here to hear more from Esten as he recounts his daughter's cancer diagnosis and recovery at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk kick-off lunch.