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 fight against cancer and giving hope to their families.
ALL SMILES AFTER US TREATMENT
Edric Ho from Australia looks like a happy healthy 4-year-old with his beaming smile and cheeky personality, but back in 2014 when he was only 16 months old, he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain tumor.
Back then, doctors told his parents that pioneering proton therapy in the US was his best hope of survival, but would cost $200,000. With no government assistance available, Edwin and Rochelle Ho remortgaged their home and borrowed from family and friends to travel with their sick son to Florida in May 2014. The treatment saved Edric’s life, who has been in remission for 2 years. His parents reflected on the journey this week to mark the milestone. “We cried,” Mr Ho said. “We got on our knees and prayed and asked why. We just hoped for the best. Just to save Edric, but also to see others who were in the same predicament as us and also get strength from others who are going on the same journey as us, it was a real help having a network of people together.” Mrs Ho said their little boy was happy despite lingering side effects from his cancer battle. “He has hearing loss, he has speech delay, he has delay in motor skills, but he is happy,” she said. “He’s living here enjoying life.” The Federal Government eventually agreed to reimburse the family for the cost of the treatment. The couple said they hope acquiring funding for overseas cancer treatments will become easier, but for now they are focusing on their son’s future, which includes MRI scans every 4 months.
FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR BOY WITH BRAIN TUMOR
Romayne Hynes, a 5-year-old from the UK, needs proton therapy for his rare brain tumor. A campaign has begun to raise cash for him to go to America and get the potentially life-saving treatment.
Romayne was diagnosed last summer with craniopharyngioma, a rare tumor with cysts growing on his brain, restricting the flow of liquids and causing serious side effects, including drastic weight gain. The tumor is located in an extremely delicate part of the brain near the pituitary gland, which is difficult to operate on, which is why he needs targeted proton therapy. PT is not yet available in this country, and even if a new center in Shinfield could soon offer it, Romayne’s treatment cannot wait. His mom wants to raise £5,000 to take him and his 2-week-old brother Zaviyan to America and, after the treatment, would like to be joined by her elder son Taraya. Romayne’s family have set up a justgiving page and are hoping kind-hearted people will help them send him to the US. His mom said: “We are hoping to raise the money to take him to Florida for this proton beam treatment. You can’t get it in this country and it’s the latest treatment and is apparently much more effective than radiotherapy. We’re hoping to go for two months, and then I’m hoping I can fly his other brother out so I can take them to Disney World after the treatment is over. There’s a long way to go but we hope we don’t lose our wonderful son and brother.” To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/amina-parris.
4-YEAR-OLD NEEDS TREATMENT AGAIN
Alexander Vinson, 4-year-old, received proton therapy for a brain tumor in December 2015. Now seven months after receiving the all clear from his doctors, he needs to start treatment again as a scan revealed a growth on his spine.
Alexander travelled to America with his parents in December 2015 to receive proton beam therapy for a brain tumor, but one year on, Alexander’s parents have broken the news on Facebook that he will be starting treatment again, as a recent scan showed a growth on his spine. Alexander’s mom Raluca said, “This will come as a shock, like it shocked us, the last scan results for Alexander had shown a growth in his spine. We are devastated. It’s awful, it’s heartbreaking and unbelievably unfair. The doctors aren’t sure whether the growth on his spine is the same that was in his head so he’s had a biopsy and we will wait and see. They did say that if the tumor came back, it could appear anywhere in his body so they think it could perhaps be the same. He’s had a small amount of radiotherapy and depending on what the results of the biopsy say, we will discuss the options with the doctors as to how we go forward with treatment. We are taking each day as it comes as we don’t know what is around the corner. We’re trying to make the most of the time we have. Alexander is quite happy in himself. We recently celebrated his 4th birthday which was lovely. We had friends and family with us and he enjoyed himself. The support from everyone has been lovely and we are very thankful. We really couldn’t do it without our friends and family.”