Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping young children from all over the world fight against cancer.


Rebecca Duff, a 21-year-old woman from the UK, vowed to keep fighting after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumor so big it has spread to her spine

After suffering from chronic neck pain for nearly three years, Rebecca was finally diagnosed with a grade II ependymoma brain tumor, which can cause headaches, sickness, personality changes and vision and balance problems. She said it was a “relief” to find out what was wrong. She underwent more than 12 hours of surgery to remove it. “My surgeon couldn’t believe I was still walking when they discovered it”, she said. Following the surgery in October last year, the decision was made for Rebecca to undergo radiation treatment. However, because they needed to radiate the brain stem, she was sent to America for specialist proton therapy. Rebecca said: “The proton therapy was safer so we decided I would go out to Florida for 10 weeks to receive treatment.” She is now at home recovering, after returning to the UK following the therapy in mid-March. Rebecca was at college when she was diagnosed but has had to put her studies on hold. “I am busy recuperating and want to get my life back to normal as soon as possible. It has been difficult to put my life on hold,” she said. “My family has been a great support – especially my mom and dad.” But Rebecca is now determined to focus on her future: “I want to raise awareness about brain tumors and over this year we are gearing up to do a number of fundraisers for the Brain Tumour Charity. Brain cancer has impacted my life but not my fight.”

Source: https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/it-has-been-hard-to-put-my-life-on-hold/



Aimée Huff, a 41-year-old mom of two, found a lump in her breast last spring. Days later she sat in an exam room and listened to her radiologist utter the words “I will be surprised if this is not cancer.”

Aimée lives only six short blocks away from the house she grew up in. She has two sons, ages 8 and 12, with her husband, Tom. By day she works as a financial advisor for an independent firm, where she manages financial solutions and plans for clients. Aimée was diagnosed with Stage 2B/3A Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer in May last year. She was selected as a pro-bono candidate for proton therapy at the SCCA Proton Therapy Center and had a very successful run with it, totaling six weeks. She recently graduated on April 13, and received her medal of honor in the form of a “challenge coin” engraved with her patient number, 891. The coin signifies her fight against cancer, so she can put this chapter of her life behind her. SCCA Proton Therapy is located on UW Medicine’s Northwest Hospital and Medical Center campus in North Seattle and is the only proton therapy center in a seven-state region. The center recently celebrated its third anniversary, and is nearing its 1000th patient mark.

Source: http://www.shorelineareanews.com/2016/05/shoreline-breast-cancer-patient.html



Grace Walker is a 9-year-old girl from the UK who needs proton therapy to treat a tennis-sized tumor in her cheek. Her devastated mom has made a desperate plea to get her the life-saving treatment in the US.

Grace was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer just days before Christmas last year. But having gone through 6 phases of chemotherapy and 2 extremely invasive surgeries that left her with severe facial scars, the little girl now needs reconstructive surgery and proton therapy, which is only available overseas. Her mom decided to set up a JustGiving page to raise much-needed funds for the 9-week trip. She said: “We are just a normal family, and that is what I wanted to get across in my JustGiving page. Cancer can hit anyone at anytime.” Since Denise created the JustGiving page just two and a half weeks ago, it has raised more than £8,400. Grace herself posted a comment thanking everyone for her support: “Thank you so so much for your donations you don’t know what this means to me. Thank you for helping me save my life.” The brave youngster cannot sit for more than a couple of hours, but the flight to Procure center in Oklahoma takes ten hours, so extra money is needed to ensure Grace has the most comfortable surroundings during the journey. To make things worse, the NHS will only pay for Grace’s treatment and travel along with her parents, leaving her parents having to pay for her 5-year-old sister Olivia’s flights and living costs. If extra money is raised, it will go to the charity “Forward Facing”, which seeks to give children with long-term conditions creative and fun activities to do. To donate, go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/d-walker-1.

Source: http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/514666/Parents-plea-cash-to-little-girl-tennis-ball-sized-tumour-Proton-therapy-USA


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope to patients in the middle of their fight against cancer.


Five-year-old Alfie Smith from the UK needs to go to America for treatment for his rare brain tumor, and his family are asking for help.

Little Alfie first experienced a swollen eye at Christmas in 2014. As it still hadn’t healed in February, his mom Tina took him to the doctors and experienced every mom’s worst nightmare when she was told that her son had a brain tumor called meningioma, which is very rare in children. Since then, Alfie has had several operations and now needs one final operation before he flies out to America for proton therapy. “They can’t cure it. All they can do is treat it. It involves too much bone, they will never remove it all. But hopefully the protons will stop it from growing,” Tina said.  Alfie has been referred overseas by the NHS, who will cover the cost of the treatment and give the basic costs to cover two people going out with Alfie and basic costs to cover somewhere to stay and food. The family are looking to spend around eight weeks in Florida or Oklahoma at a hospital while Alfie receives the treatment. Tina started a fundraising page to help the family with additional living costs while they are out there and to help keep their family house running in Westham while they are away. The family are also hoping to fundraise to take one of Alfie’s older brothers, Jordan, 17, with them. Proton therapy is 94% effective on adult tumors, but doctors don’t know how effective it will be for Alfie, as it’s so rare in children. Through it all, Alfie, who also has Asperger’s Spectrum Disorder, has been really resilient and is always thinking of his family. Tina said: “He takes it all in his stride. Nothing phases him.”

Source: http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/14475404.Alfie__5__set_for_brain_tumour_treatment_in_the_US___can_you_help_his_family_join_him_/



A lot has changed since Ana-Kate Partridge was the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center’s first pediatric patient 10 years ago. In the past decade, the center has treated more than 1,000 children, and Ana-Kate has grown into a lively preteen who is now cancer-free.

When she was 6 months old, Ana-Kate was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a common brain tumor in children. After it was removed surgically, she received chemotherapy. But just after her second birthday, another tumor appeared, and a second surgery was performed. Meanwhile, the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center had just opened, and after undergoing radiation therapy, Ana-Kate was given proton therapy at the sites of both tumors. “My husband, Ron, researched proton therapy, and we just felt like its potential advantages and low risk of side effects were worth a shot,” said Ana-Kate’s mother. “It was a good decision that we are so glad we made.” After eight weeks of proton therapy, Ana-Kate returned home for chemotherapy.  Since being declared cancer-free 10 years ago, Shawn has never looked back. At age 12, she’s a bundle of energy with a long list of interests, her mother says. In school, she’s had a few challenges due to medulloblastoma side effects, but with a little extra help, she’s staying on the same level as her classmates. Each year, Shawn brings Ana-Kate back to MD Anderson for an MRI and a visit with her physicians. And every year for the past 10, they’ve gotten good news. The cancer remains a distant memory.

Source : http://cybermark-solutions.com/medulloblastoma-patient-marks-a-decade-cancer-free-3/



Rhea Birusingh is a 37-year-old new mother who was diagnosed with a tumor behind her eye during her pregnancy. Her sight will be saved thanks to the remarkable technology of proton therapy, which is providing new hope to patients with inoperable tumors.

Rhea began experiencing blurry vision and thought it was due to her pregnancy. But when she went to see her opthamologist, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor located behind her right eye, which was feeding on the same hormones associated with her pregnancy. Because of the tumor’s location, it was deemed inoperable, and without proton therapy, Rhea would face declining memory and loss of her eyesight. “Unfortunately, even with just one scan, we knew the tumor was in the worst location possible,” said Birusingh. In order to treat the tumor, Rhea was induced at 34 weeks, and became the first patient to be treated with proton beam therapy at the new Marjorie and Leonard Williams Center for Proton Therapy at Orlando Health. “Proton treatment allows a great clinical benefit in protecting the normal areas surrounding the tumor,” says Dr. Ramakrishna, the director of the center. “It also reduces the incidence of stroke and radiation-induced secondary cancers.” Proton therapy is thus especially beneficial for both adult and pediatric patients with tumors near critical structures like the spine, brain and optic nerve, which can be affected by traditional radiation therapy. The proton therapy center at Orlando Health took four years to build and is expected to treat as many as 20 patients a day who have cancers of the brain, spine, prostate, lung, breast, gastrointestinal tract, head and neck, as well as pediatric cancers.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/m-bto050416.php


Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving teenagers a new shot at life and allowing them to make future projects.


Matthey Kirk, an 11-year-old boy from Worcestershire, England was shocked when he found out that his swollen nose was not the result of a mosquito bite but a rare cancer that would require aggressive chemo and specialist proton therapy in the US.

Matthew first spotted the lump on a family holiday and didn’t worry about it. But after it more than doubled in size, his parents sought medical treatment and it was discovered the lump was actually alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancerous tumor of the connective tissue. “At the time it never crossed my mind that Matthew could have cancer,” said his mom. “But the tumor was already the size of a tennis ball, I was terrified.” Matthew started high dosage chemo and radiotherapy in October 2014 to shrink the tumor to a small enough size for the proton beam therapy in America to work. Matthew’s family started a fundraiser so that his whole family could travel with him to the USA and the local community generously donated the funds. Doctors flew Matthew out to Oklahoma, USA, for proton beam therapy in January 2015. “The treatment was very intense and left Matthew’s face burnt and peeling as well as giving him severe blisters in his mouth but we knew it was the only way to save our son,” his mom said. “After flying back from America through the night he was so determined to go back to school and see his friends that he went in having barely slept.” His doctors said: “Matthew was a real star, showing great courage and determination throughout this 9-month period. We’re really pleased with his progress and delighted to hear he’s enjoying all the things a young person of his age should be.”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/boy-swollen-nose-mosquito-bite-rare-cancer_uk_571f2d77e4b0d6f7bed4cdc5



Jordan Giddins, a 17-year-old fighting a type of bone cancer called Ewing sarcoma, is set to travel to the United States this summer after more than £30,000 was raised in his honor by his family and friends in just 6 weeks.

It is the second time the teenager from Flintshire, UK is battling a life-threatening condition, as he already survived a rare blood disease called hemaphagocytic histiocystosis a few years ago. Despite undergoing a successful bone marrow transplant donated by his sister in October 2011, Jordan was dealt a further blow when doctors found a tennis ball-sized tumor on his ribs in July 2015. As for treatment, Jordan has started chemotherapy, will have surgery in May and then will undergo a gruelling 9-week course of proton therapy in America in June in a bid to destroy the cancerous cells. “The tumor has already shrunk from the chemo and they hope it will be dead when they take it out,” said his mom.The cost of the treatment in America will be covered by the NHS, but his family still needs to fund living costs and expenses for the three months he receives the therapy. His parents have taken on a month-long series of challenges including bike marathons, mountain hikes and sponsored walks: “I’m just overwhelmed and emotional with the response of everyone,” said Jordan’s mom, 48, who has worked for the NHS for 30 years. “We’re just so grateful for everyone’s support. Everyone has wanted to do their bit and it’s just overwhelming that people want to help so much,” his mom said.

Source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/teenager-heading-united-states-lifesaving-11248739



A day after his 7th-birthday party, Sebastian Day’s parents noticed he had a sty growing over his right eye, but the pharmacist said it looked like he bumped himself and told them to take him to the doctor’s if it didn’t go better in a week.

Unfortunately, at the same time, Sebastian seemed to pick up a stomach bug that kept him from school. The bug got worse and the “sty” got bigger, and after one look at Sebastian, her GP referred him straight away to the hospital. Sebastian was seen by several doctors and consultants, he had several blood tests, eye examinations and two MRI scans, which were sent off to specialist hospitals around the world, including the John Radcliffe in Oxford and the Great Ormond Street in London. After a biopsy, Sebastian’s parents were finally told that he had a rare cancerous mass called embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma above to the side of his right eye. Surgeons were only able to remove 90% of the tumor, as the remaining parts were too close to the optic nerve. At that point, Sebastian needed to begin 27 weeks of chemotherapy and 12 weeks of precise proton therapy due to the delicate location of the tumor. At the end of last February 2016, the young boy was sent to Oklahoma in the US, where they have specialist paediatric proton therapy facilities. The NHS funded proton therapy and continued chemotherapy, as well as flights and accommodation for Sebastian and two carers, but it did not cover living expenses or the cost of taking his younger brother, which is why his parents had to set up a website to raise funds and cover the costs of their 3-month trip. The community generously responded and the family was able to focus on Sebastian getting better without worrying about money. Today, the young boy is enjoying the fact that he’s well enough to go back to school!

Source: http://sebastianday.org/#about