Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping children with cancer overcome life-threatening challenges.
CHILD FIGHTING BRAIN TUMOR AS STORMTROOPER
Evan Cornett, a 2nd grader suffering from a brain tumor, is one of the first to benefit from the efforts of Hannah Heimos, a child life specialist who created a program painting radiation masks as popular characters to help put young patients at ease.
Hannah Heimos from St. Louis Children’s Hospital specializes in helping young proton-beam therapy patients face their daily treatments, which include wearing a mask pinpointing exactly where the proton radiation hits the tumor. Her first patient to receive a painted mask was 8-year-old Evan Cornett, who wears his “Star Wars” Stormtrooper costume to every appointment. Hannah painted Evan’s mask like a Stormtrooper helmet to help him feel more empowered during treatments and ease anxiety. Evan had around 30 treatments to undergo in his overall treatment. He is an athletic boy who enjoys being outside, and recently returned to school during a special Star Wars day at South School.
BOY WITH BRAIN CANCER
Jaysen Cook-Bey, a 9-year-old kid with brain cancer known as “Hollywood” around the Warrenville proton therapy center due to his sharp sense of style, served as a special guest at a recent fundraiser for pediatric cancer research.
Jaysen was diagnosed with brain cancer seven months ago after he suffered from severe headaches and his doctors ordered a head CT. Surgeons removed the tumor and confirmed he had medulloblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Since then, Jaysen has completed proton therapy in Warrenville, Chicago, and is now preparing to start his fourth of nine chemotherapy cycles. Despite his ordeal, Jaysen remains a curious, thoughtful kid and is looking forward to the end of his chemotherapy in October to eventually go back to school, as his family finally got some good news from an MRI scan last week that showed no signs of a tumor in his brain. For the past seven months, Jaysen has shown his family and everyone involved in his care his resilience and independence. He’s also shown empathy for other kids with cancer and served as a special guest at a recent fundraiser for pediatric cancer research at the Warrenville proton center. He assumed a responsibility with the role, hoping to inspire other kids who have lost their hair and a normal childhood to cancer. “You shouldn’t give up,” he said. “You should keep trying and trying.” The sharp dresser also dreams of becoming a Secret Service agent because he wants to “protect the president one day,” his mom said.
BRAVE YOUNGSTER FLYING OUT TO AMERICA
Daniel Mason, a brave 11-year-old schoolboy from the UK battling brain cancer, is set to begin a course of vital proton treatments in the USA in the hope to save his eyesight.
Daniel was first diagnosed with a brain tumor 2 years ago. He courageously underwent a course of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor but surgeons were unable to remove it due to its location on his optic nerve. Daniel and his family recently discovered that the tumor had grown slightly and that he now requires proton therapy to save the sight in his right eye. The therapy being unavailable in the UK, Daniel is travelling to Jacksonville in Florida with his parents and sister for a 10-week course of treatment. “The tumor itself isn’t so bad, but this treatment is about saving his sight,” his mom said. “We’re so proud of the way Daniel has coped with it all. “He has kept us all going with his brilliant attitude.” The treatment is funded by the NHS, as are travel and accommodation for Daniel and his parents. A fund raising football match took place last week to raise funds to help the family with other costs, including travel and accommodation for Daniel’s sister Anna. “Football is a massive part of Daniel’s life, so this was a great way for people to come together for him. He even managed to continue playing football during his chemotherapy,” his mom said.