Lia Gore, MD, is a pediatric oncologist who specializes in blood cancers. She has led clinical trials on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus resulting in FDA approval of five cancer drugs that have saved and continue to save children’s lives.
In her role as section head of the Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant-Cellular Therapeutics at Children’s Hospital Colorado – where she and her colleagues treat a vast majority of pediatric blood cancer patients across the Rocky Mountain region and the southwest and in some cases, around the world – and as the co-director of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the CU Cancer Center, Gore leads collaborative efforts to eradicate or reduce the impact of cancer on children, adolescents and young adults.
While Gore has scaled her efforts from treating individual patients to collaborating with clinicians and researchers across the U.S. and internationally on the development of novel cancer treatments, her motivation remains rooted in the little moments that propel the journey of young cancer patients and their families. “Every day a kid feels well enough to do something like go out and play, go to soccer practice, or eat a meal,” Gore says, “is a little victory for a parent when you don’t know if your child will survive.”
What drives you?
The true desire to try to make things better for kids. It’s pretty simple. We see families at the absolute worst times in their lives and have the privilege of using everything we can to try to help them dig out of sadness and tragedy on that day and every day that follows.
What excites you to get out of bed in the morning and get to work?
The idea that no two days are the same, that I never know what’s ahead, and that I feel a tremendous responsibility to try to work on behalf of others to help support them and solve the big audacious, vexing problems that bad diseases cause. We have some incredible people here – it is an honor to work on behalf of them. And the kids we get to take care of truly drive us to try to make things better, to do better each day.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
Because I love the idea of bridging science and humanity, and I was raised to use whatever I had to try to help those who need it.
What keeps you up at night?
Pretty much everything – it’s a complicated world and I don’t turn my brain off very well.
When I’m not working, I enjoy…
I enjoy being with my family, getting outside in the fresh air… being in nature is humbling. It shows us that we are small bits in a very large world.