Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope and revealing the strength of cancer patients.
TEENAGER FLYING TO THE US TO SAVE HER SIGHT
Megan Pratt, a 12-year-old girl from Hull, UK is scheduled to undergo cancer treatment in the US in a bid to save her sight, after she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor that was initially mistaken for a tooth abscess.
Megan’s left cheek began swelling shortly before Christmas. Believing the source of the problem was in her mouth, her GP advised Megan’s parents to take her to the dentist. Unfortunately, further tests revealed it was a malignant tumor in the left side of her cheek. “It was about the size of a golf ball and it also covered both the inside and outside of her mouth,” her dad said. “We all felt as though we had hit rock bottom. But Megan is legend. Nothing fazes her. She is reading up on the type of therapy she will receive out there.” Megan immediately started a course of powerful chemotherapy, and continues to travel to the hospital in Leeds every three weeks for treatment. Conventional radiotherapy has been ruled out, as it blasts the surrounding area and might destroy her sight, and the preferred course of treatment in her case is proton therapy. This treatment is not currently available in the UK, but Megan’s tumor is on the NHS list of cancers that can be referred abroad, and she will be able to travel to Oklahoma next month to be treated. The family is now halfway towards raising £3,000, which will be used to cover general costs incurred during the expected eight to ten-week stay in Oklahoma. Megan will also need 6 to 12 months of chemotherapy when she returns to the UK. Visit www.justgiving.com and search for “Ken Pratt” to make a donation.
BATTLING CANCER FOCUSING ON BASKETBALL
Sam Kell is a 14-year-old boy from Michigan, USA suffering from brain cancer, but above all, he’s a kid who wants to play basketball. And nothing, not even cancer, is going to stop him.
When Sam began to have double vision last November, he went to the hospital to get an MRI. But what was supposed to be a simple checkup turned out to be much more, as he was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. “It’s been my worst nightmare. When this whole thing started. “Sam’s mother recalls. But since that day, the healing process and continued fight have prevailed. Support from surrounding communities poured in for Sam and his family. A packed gym for Sam’s first love, basketball, was one event to help prove that tragedy can bring out the best in humanity. Sam had a night to remember as players of the University of Oakland included him in all the festivities. For one night, he could forget about his fight with this disease. Sam has already undergone brain surgery and six weeks of proton therapy in Chicago. He has now made it back in the game, proving once again that the power of sports cannot be underestimated. “The entire time he went through proton therapy in Chicago, every single day he asked to go to the gym to play basketball,” his mom said. “This is the best possible outcome for walking into brain surgery and all that was unknown. For him to be on a basketball court right now is incredible,” she added. The Kells are now taking this day-by-day, and that their goal each day, is to smile as much as possible.
WISH GRANTED FOR PREGNANT MOM WITH CANCER
Jennifer Arrington, a 28 year-old mom pregnant with her second son, is also fighting against cancer. The genie of the Dawson’s foundation arranged her a week of pampering, to give her a break before she begins PT in Jacksonville.
Jennifer was diagnosed last December with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancerous tumor of the body’s soft tissue. In her case, the mass was in her sinus cavity. The diagnosis is particularly rare in adults and during pregnancy. She has been receiving chemotherapy and she and her baby son are regularly monitored. So far, both are doing well. A c-section is scheduled on April 28, and soon after that she will move to Jacksonville for 3 or 4 months of treatment at the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute. The family is fundraising to pay the $1,300 a month rent. Earlier this month, when Jennifer thought she was visiting Subaru of Jacksonville to talk about her journey as a pregnant woman battling cancer, the blue genie in the red suit appeared. Also known as Joshua Dawson, the genie of the Dawson’s foundation had arranged a whirlwind week of “fun and pampering.” Jennifer was stunned, thrilled and touched. The foundation had posted on Facebook that it was seeking inspirational people to pamper. The goal for the recipient, the genie said, is to give people like her a break, if only for a week, from their struggle. “It’s about living in the moment,” he said.