Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is raising people’s awareness and motivation to save children fighting cancer.
STAYING POSITIVE TO BEAT CANCER
Back in November 2017, Gavin Snowhite, a teenager from Jupiter in Florida, just wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to get out of bed, which was completely uncharacteristic for the active teenager.
Physicians initially diagnosed Gavin with anemia and later that month changed his diagnosis to Epstein Barr, a virus that causes mononucleosis and other illnesses. But after an ultrasound of his spleen came back abnormal, Gavin was admitted for 10 days at the hospital, before he received a diagnosis of Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His mom Melanie recalls thinking her life was over upon hearing her son’s diagnosis. Due to the staging and severity of Gavin’s case, physicians suggested entering him into a research medication study where he would have a 50/50 chance of getting either the randomized trial medication or traditional chemotherapy. Gavin is currently undergoing 5 rounds of chemotherapy, which will be followed by proton therapy at Miami Cancer Institute. The proton treatments will run Monday through Friday for 4 weeks and the family will need to establish a temporary home base closer to the hospital. Maintaining a positive attitude is helping Gavin get through his cancer treatments and the drastic lifestyle changes he is enduring. ”I was definitely surprised when I heard I had cancer but I knew I would get through it.” Gavin is responding really well to the treatment and, according to Melanie, his last PET scan showed there was no cancer left. “Before cancer I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I think something in the field of oncology would be a cool option because I have so much experience with it.”
MOM RUNNING FOR CHARITY
Louise Milliken, a mom from Glasgow in the UK, is running the London Marathon for the Brain Tumor Research charity after her daughter suffered her own brain tumor ordeal.
Louise has dedicated her first London Marathon to her daughter who has just completed a year of gruelling treatment for a brain tumor. Her challenge has already raised more than £15,000 for the pioneering charity Brain Tumor Research, and the money will fund vital work focused on improving outcomes for patients and, ultimately, finding a cure. Her daughter Katie, 11, was among friends and family who cheered Louise on throughout Sunday’s event and the inspirational mom has dedicated her efforts not just to her own daughter but to all patients and families affected by the cruel disease. Katie was just 3 when she was first diagnosed. She underwent emergency surgery and has endured months of treatment including specialist proton therapy in America. She was back on chemotherapy after the tumor regrew, but she has just completed 52 weeks of treatment and the tumor is now the smallest it has ever been. To make a donation to Brain Tumor Research via Louise’s JustGiving page, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louise-milliken1
MARATHON RUNNER HELPING 7-YEAR-OLD CANCER BOY
The mother of a 7-year-old boy who needs life-saving treatment has thanked a London marathon runner for pounding the tarmac in 23C heat to fundraise for him.
Stacey Harper, 40, is now in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest woman to run the marathon dressed as Elvis. She hopes to have raised £2,000 for her nephew, Harry Addy, who has a spinal cord tumor and rare brain disease. Harry’s family need to raise £70,000 for specialist Proton therapy treatment overseas, as it’s not available on the NHS. Harry is now undergoing weekly chemotherapy treatment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. “He’ll still need proton treatment but we are trying to put it off for as long as possible,” his mom said. Ms Harper, 40, said: “It is heartbreaking to see a child go through what Harry has.” She said after the race: “It was a lot hotter than I was expecting it to be but it was good and I got it done. “The wig was probably the worst bit. I knew I couldn’t take it off or I would lose the record. The more water I put on, the heavier the costume got.” She said the support was “absolutely amazing”. To donate for Harry visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/protons-for-harry