Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment is saving lives around the world and giving hope to young people facing their disease.
Back home after 10 weeks of PT in the US
In September, 16-year-old Kayti Spargo from Melton was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that affects only 60 children in the UK each year.
Now, she has just returned from her 10 weeks of proton beam treatment in the USA.
Kayti admits the first time she wore the made-to-measure face mask enabling her to undergo specialist cancer treatment targeting a rare tumor behind her nose, she was terrified. “I’m claustrophobic and when they put it on they clamp it at the back and there are no eye holes,” she recalled. The therapy’s pinpoint beam targets cancers without damaging vital organs which, in Kayti’s case included her brain, eyes and ears.
The daily half hour sessions at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, in Jacksonville were supplemented by chemotherapy sessions every three weeks, draining her body but never her spirit.
A small army of family, friends and colleagues helped her dad decorate their home ready for her return. “Getting back home and seeing the house done up so nicely, knowing that all those people gave up their time to help me and my family was overwhelming, really,” she said.
Kayti, who has already had one teen fantasy novel published on Amazon and is part way through a second, is also planning to write a book on her experiences to help other teenage cancer sufferers. “I want to write a teenagers’ guide to cancer, about the treatment and feelings you go through.”
Brave Scarlett heads Stateside for urgent treatment
Scarlett McCracken, a brave young girl who needs urgent treatment to save her eyesight has flown to America last Thursday to start potentially life-changing therapy in Oklahoma.
Scarlett was diagnosed with a brain tumor just over four years ago, and had to undergo a life-saving operation. Despite the initial success of the procedure, she was left with some active cells that have been pushing on her optic nerve and causing her to lose her sight.
It has now deteriorated so badly that the NHS decided to pay to send her to the USA for treatment.
This trip follows a month of intensive fund-raising in order to pay for Scarlett, her mom and grand-mother to stay in the USA while the 10-year-old undergoes proton beam therapy.
The £90,000 treatment, which is not available in this country, is being paid for by the NHS, but the family were left needing around £14,000 to cover their costs while they are in Oklahoma. “It has come round really quickly – it’s amazing news,” her mom said.
Currently, Scarlett’s procedure is not available in the UK, but the NHS is building two proton beam centers, one in London and one in Manchester, which are expected to open in 2018.
Art auction for Greta Loewen
Little Greta Loewen was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma just before Christmas. An art auction on Saturday, March 7 in Abbotsford, Canada will raise money for the five-year-old and her family.
Greta has been undergoing treatment and chemotherapy at BC Children’s Hospital and her self-employed parents wanted to make sure they spend every moment with their little girl. They own a local art shop in Abbotsford, and as they are taking time off work to help take care of their daughter, their income are deeply affected. Greta’s cancer is so rare that she needs specific treatments in the U.S. and will soon be headed to Boston for a form of proton therapy not available in Canada.
Fortunately, through the difficult times, their community is banding together to help. There is also a YouCaring.com fundraising page online. An art auction on Saturday, March 7 in Abbotsford will also raise money for Greta and her family. The event starts at 7 p.m. at The Phoenix Lounge, 33780 King Rd.