Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping youngsters with life-threatening tumors fight for their future.
CELEBRATING BRAVE ELSA’S BIRTHDAY
Elsa McBurney, a young girl from the UK who was diagnosed with spinal cancer last year, just celebrated her 8th birthday at a huge party with her local community on Sunday.
It has been a difficult twelve months for Elsa: since she was diagnosed with cancer in her spine a year ago, she has undergone chemotherapy, surgery and travelled to America for proton beam therapy. Her family and friends wanted to ensure this birthday would be one to remember and weeks of planning have gone in to marking Elsa turning eight. Despite far from perfect weather, the party was a great success. Her mom Leslie said: “Elsa had a fantastic day from start to finish. We never expected the crowds we got in a million years.”
APPEAL FOR CHARLOTTE’S TREATMENT
Charlotte Taylor, a 19-year-old from England, needs proton therapy to treat her inoperable brain tumor. Her neighbor has raised more than £20,000 in just two weeks to fund the pioneering treatment in a bid to prolong her life.
Charlotte was diagnosed with a brain tumor after suffering from headaches for a few months. “She had been complaining of headaches since Christmas,” her dad sad. “She went to the doctors but two weeks later the headaches were still there, and she had started to struggle reading and recognizing numbers.” Her optician noticed her optic nerves were swollen in both eyes and rushed her to the emergency room, where a scan revealed she had a large cancerous tumor on her brain. Charlotte, who had just started studying for a degree in nursing, is now struggling with her vision and memory, and has a weakness on her right side. Doctors have ruled out surgery, but she is undergoing chemo and radiotherapy, while her family and boyfriend-of-5-years explore alternative treatments. “We’re researching other options like proton therapy or immunotherapy, but they’re not available on the NHS,” said her dad. “Family, friends and friends-of-friends have been doing their own fundraisers and donating online. The amount they’ve raised is astonishing.” Kate Cotterill, who lived next to the Taylors, launched the online fundraising appeal after watching her dad suffer from a similar condition. “Anyone with experience of brain tumors knows how unpredictable and aggressive they can be.” Kate added: “I wanted to channel my sadness into something productive. In less than a week we raised more than £16,000, which is just amazing. Every penny will go towards Charlotte’s treatment and making special memories.”
JETTING OFF TO USA FOR PROTON THERAPY
Marcus Towers, a 7-year-old from the UK who was diagnosed with a brain tumor, has been sent to America for potentially life-saving proton therapy after friends and well-wishers raised £20,000.
Marcus was just two when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. After five years of treatment, including chemotherapy, he now needs proton therapy. The NHS is paying for the treatment, although his family, including his twin brother Finley, needed to fundraise to cover the cost of moving to the States for the 10-week course. The £11,000 trip has been possible due to the kindness of strangers. His mom Tina said: “I can’t say a big enough thank you to everyone for their support.” Marcus will be scanned this week, after which experts will decide exactly what is needed. Tina is confident though that her son will come out of it with a smile on his face. “I think he doesn’t know what to expect, but I’m only telling him little bits,” she admitted. “I don’t want him to be nervous when he gets there. I’m nervous too, and I feel like if this treatment doesn’t work then where do you go from there – but there is a really good chance and it will and I’m hopeful we should get the result we want.”