Steven Firestein, a Los Angeles Real Estate Agent, Got a Bump on His Head and Thought It Was Cancer
Steven Firestein thought he had it all: an Encino home and successful career as a real estate broker. But after discovering a bump on his head that looked suspiciously like cancer, it forced him to reassess his priorities and make changes accordingly.
Dr. Stephen Firestein has over seventy-one years of experience in medicine, graduating from Columbia University/College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1951.
Early Life and Education
At 27, Steven Firestein owned an elegant Encino home, drove a Cadillac and earned an admirable living as a real estate broker. But after discovering a lump on his head – initially fearful it might be cancerous – and testing positive, the experience caused him to reconsider his priorities and found Kids Cancer Connection as a descendant of cosmetics mogul Max Factor in 1994 as an invaluable patient psychosocial support service provider for families affected by pediatric cancer.
Magical Caps for Kids was the nonprofit’s inaugural program and provided hats and caps to young cancer patients who had lost their hair due to chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Now expanded with field trips to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm as well as Courageous Kid Recognition Awards, it continues its efforts.
At 27, Steven Firestein had it all: an Encino home, Cadillac and real estate career that earned a decent income. That is until he noticed a lump on his head and became concerned it might be cancerous; in the end it turned out benign, yet this scare led him to reconsider his priorities and find ways to better his life.
Kids Cancer Connection was formed to offer emotional and psychosocial support to children undergoing cancer treatments. Their first program, Magical Caps for Kids, provided hats and caps to cancer patients who had lost their hair due to chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
He also established the Courageous Kid Recognition Award, honoring children bravely battling cancer. Today, this organization provides essential patient psychosocial services at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital as well as hospitals nationwide.
Achievement and Honors
Firestein began Kids Cancer Connection as a nonprofit charity with the intent to raise awareness and assist families of children suffering from childhood cancer. He helped arrange trips for sick kids to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm; also, lobbying Malibu city hall to proclaim September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month; now, Firestein chairs Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences where his lab researches brain’s sense of smell research; in addition he has published articles in Wired magazine and Huffington Post.
At 27, Firestein appeared to have it all: an Encino home, a Cadillac and an impressive real estate career in California. But after discovering a lump on his scalp and fearing cancer, his life quickly unravelled before him.
After taking on this initiative, he dedicated his time and resources to aiding children living with cancer. To this end, he established Kids Cancer Connection – an LA-based nonprofit – and its first program: Magical Caps for Kids (provides caps to young patients who had lost their hair due to chemotherapy or radiation treatments).
He created the Courageous Kid Recognition Award, presented at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and other participating hospitals nationwide. Additionally, in his free time he conducts research into vertebrate olfactory receptor neuron at Columbia University’s Department of Biological Sciences.
As an Encino homeowner and real estate professional at 27 years old, Firestein had it all: an Encino home, Cadillac and successful real estate career. But then he noticed a lump on his head and immediately assumed it to be cancerous; even after doctors determined otherwise, his brush with mortality altered his perspective significantly; eventually founding Kids Cancer Connection to aid children suffering from cancer as well as giving out Magical Caps to kids who lose their hair during chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
His office is filled with memorabilia from Starbucks, including this leather Spalding baseball glove that belonged to his late mother and is nearly 100 years old. Additionally, he keeps adding playing cards from bygone airlines to his collection by visiting yard sales and antique shops; currently eight decks of playing cards reside in his office with four more located at home.