Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping young patients from all over the world in their fight against cancer and reuniting families.
TWO BROTHERS RECOVERING FROM BRAIN TUMORS
Aaron and Andrew Eunice, 2 brothers from Georgia of respectively 10 and 9 years old, are recovering from treatment after they were both diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumor called craniopharyngioma.
The two boys were diagnosed with brain tumors less than 6 months ago. These diagnoses came within a few weeks of each other, and not only is this type of tumor rare, it’s even more unusual that it happened to two brothers. According to Dr Aldana, their neurosurgeon at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, there are a couple ways to fight this condition. In Andrew’s case, Aldana fully removed the tumor by pulling it through his nasal cavity, allowing him to avoid open brain surgery. Whereas Aaron’s tumor was partially removed through surgery, and his treatment was completed by proton therapy sessions at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. He got to wear a cool mask, and the electrically charged particles closely attacked the tumor, with little or no damage to healthy tissue. After completing their treatments, the two boys are feeling great. Their doctor is looking into the possibility of doing some tests to learn more about why this happened to the brothers, as he wants to determine if there is some genetic explanation. The boys will also have to have many more follow up visits in the months and years to come, but the family is hopeful this battle is behind them.
BRAVE MOLLY FLIES TO THE US WITH FAMILY
Molly Fleming, a 4-year-old girl from Beech Hill in the UK who was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer, is finally on her way to America for proton therapy treatment.
Molly is accompanied by her parents Paul Fleming and Claire Grundy and her siblings, Harley, 5, 3-year-old Thomas and 13-week-old Jacob, after the local community successfully rallied round to raise money to pay for her family to stay in the US while she is being treated. Molly will spend around 9 weeks in Florida having the state-of-the-art treatment. Shortly before their flight, her dad said: “We’re glad everything is moving along now. Molly’s doing alright and she’s as feisty as ever. It’s quite daunting for us as a family but we’re ready to go now. “We’ve had some feedback from people who’ve been to Florida and heard really good reports. “They said they really look after you over there and that has settled us a bit.” Paul revealed the family has set a target of getting Molly well for her first day at school in September. She will need a couple of weeks in Jacksonville preparing for the treatment before receiving proton beam therapy Monday to Friday for around 6 weeks.
FIREFIGHTER DIAGNOSED WITH BRAIN CANCER
Seamus Cullingan, a Willoughby firefighter, husband and father-of-three, was diagnosed with a brain cancer after he had been suffering from headaches for a year.
He collapsed at work one day and was transported to the hospital by the firefighters from the station, where he learned he had a 5-6 inch tumor in his head, indicative of brain cancer. One week later, surgeons removed most of the tumor, prior to him undergoing intensive proton and chemotherapy treatments. His wife Cyndie, their parents and the Willoughby firefighters would take turns taking Seamus 5 days a week for 6 weeks to his treatments. Seamus currently suffers from speech and motor deficits, but is working through physical to overcome that. “We are asking everyone to bring or send boxing gloves,” Cyndie said. The boxing gloves are a symbol to the family that they are going to fight and knock out the cancer. Cyndie and Seamus, along with their kids, Emily, 13, Tadhg, 11, and Gavin, 8, are doing everything they can to maintain a positive attitude, but the family still has a long battle ahead of them and faces financial hardships. According to Cyndie, the cost of the proton therapy is $300,000, and a Gofundme page has been set up to help the family cover the cost of medical expenses. To help them, visit www.gofundme.com/fightforseamus.