Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment is giving hope to families of sick children and teenagers from all over the world.
TEENAGER WITH STRONG WILL TROUGH CANCER
For years, Kasey Harvey had long, dark hair that cascaded down her back. That was before the 13-year-old learned a new word : rhabdomyosarcoma. She is now focused on fighting against her aggressive cancer.
Kasey was diagnosed with a fast-moving form of cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma that was found in the maxillary sinus below her left eye. After receiving the diagnosis in November and learning that chemotherapy and proton radiation treatments would eventually cause her hair to fall out, she took control. “She said, ‘Take it off. I want it shaved,’ ” says her mom. Now Kasey, 13, has embraced bald. Sometimes she’ll even sprinkle glitter on her head before going out, just for style. A little more than halfway through a scheduled 42 weeks of chemo and proton radiation treatments that have left her with a swollen and bruised face and bouts with pain, weakness and vomiting, Kasey is taking a proactive approach, using a heavy exercise regimen and diet to stay as strong as possible. So far, the results have been encouraging. The tumor has shrunk and there has been no evidence the cancer has spread.
Dr. Atman Pai, one of the faculty treating physicians at the Scripps Proton Therapy Center who has worked with Kasey, says : “I think it’s very important,” he says. “It can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the holistic issue here in terms of cancer therapy, but looking at everything they did.”
US UNIVERSITY OFFERS LIFELINE FOR TEENAGER WITH BRAIN TUMOR
A university in the US has come to the rescue of Taisha McKinnon, a teenager from Australia, after her application for overseas medical treatment for a brain tumor was denied by her country’s government.
Taisha’s family feared for her future after her application to travel to the US for radical proton therapy was knocked back. Doctors warned Taisha risked bad side effects if she had radiotherapy, the only treatment available in Australia for her type of condition. But a draft finding said authorities planned to refuse to fund her trip to the US for proton therapy. This week the University of Florida’s Health Proton Therapy Institute said it would put for the 17-year-old in its medical research trial, meaning she will get the treatment she needs, worth about $250,000, at minimal cost. “Not only do I get help, but I can help others through research,” Tashia said.
SUPPORTERS RALLY AROUND SICK CHILD FROM CANADA
Supporters of a family with a child facing a battle against cancer rallied around them last weekend at a charity golf tournament at Twin Lakes. Almost $3,000 was raised for 5-year-old Myla who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma a few months ago.
On Sunday, the family flew to Seattle for their first consultation taking place at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Centrer. “We had a long day, but it went well,” said Myla’s dad. “The staff at the proton center are fantastic. Our cabbie even drove us for free this morning. Very nice people here in Seattle. We fly back to Penticton for a couple of weeks then we have six weeks head on with treatment.” This weekend Levesque’s slo-pitch team, the Smokin’ Aces, are hosting the Little Miss Myla charity tournament at Lions Park. There will be silent auctions, raffles, 50/50 draws, food and a beverage garden with all the funds going to the family.