Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping young patients in their fight against cancer and giving hope to their families.
COMING HOME AFTER CANCER TREATMENT IN THE US
Logan Sellers, an 8-year-old boy from the UK who spent 2 months in Florida, USA with his dad and twin sister to get proton therapy for an aggressive tumor behind his right eye, is now coming home.
After 2 months of treatment, Logan can finally come home now that he has “graduated” from the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Florida and rung the bells to celebrate the completion of his proton therapy treatment. It will be a further 6 to 8 weeks until his family finds out exactly what effect the treatment has had on his rhabdomyosarcoma. His 37-year-old father said: “It’s such a proud emotional time to stand next to my brave little boy. Jacksonville has been home for the past 10 weeks, the people and teams working here have done a marvellous job of helping us settle in and have made us feel part of their special family. This will always be our home away from home. Logan’s question after an hour of tears and emotion was ‘can’t we stay here? We can live here!’ After explaining his treatment isn’t over yet, that his big medicine (chemotherapy) will carry on for a while back in the UK, he made me pinky promise that one day he can come back here to live. A massive drop in the ocean to Logan’s battle is now behind us, in six to eight weeks we will find out exactly what effect this has had on his tumor.” Logan will restart his chemotherapy on Tuesday, just two days after they arrive back in the UK.
MOM AND SON WITH RARE TUMORS GIVEN THE ALL CLEAR
Gemma Edgar and her two-year-old son Noah, who have both been battling rare tumors, were given the all clear. The British family is now looking forward to the new year with new hope.
Last January, Noah was diagnosed with a rare malignant tumor of the eye called retinoblastoma. He underwent surgery to have his eye removed, followed by chemotherapy and proton beam therapy in America in a bid to kill any remaining cancerous cells. Since then, scans have found no evidence of cancer. It is the second glint of hope for the family, as Gemma, a former paediatric nurse, was also diagnosed with a brain tumor in October 2014. Surgeons removed as much of the aggressive tumor as they could and she underwent six weeks of radiotherapy. She has regular MRI scans to check for signs of regrowth but her last one was clear. “It was a crazy and surreal year”, Gemma said. “At the start, when Noah was diagnosed, I thought it was going to be a never ending nightmare but we got through it. We spent about 15 weeks of it in hospitals either in Cambridge, Colchester, London or America, and although he was ill, Noah did not let anything stop him. Since he finished his chemotherapy, he has been absolutely fantastic.” Noah had regular follow up MRI scans, which showed no evidence of the disease. He will have to have scans for a couple of years and have his prosthetic eye changed as he grows. The family will also have to go back to the University Of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute in America where Noah underwent proton therapy for a check up. Gemma said: “This time it will be our family holiday and hopefully Noah can enjoy it this time and will be able to go swimming and do all the things a little boy would want to do.”
FORMER APPRENTICE BATTLING RARE CANCER
Laura Barry, a 24-year-old former apprentice jockey, has endured a challenging year after being diagnosed with cancer. Her best friend Gemma Tutty is leading a fundraising drive to aid her cause.
Laura started suffering pain in her left leg last year, and was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer that attacks the nerve ducts. Although that tumor was treated, a second tumour was discovered last November. Laura has been left with paralysis in her left leg from the hip downwards, and with no chemotherapy specific to her cancer available, different treatments are being considered, including proton beam therapy. Laura and Gemma became best friends when riding round the world together for the HH Sheikh Fatima Bint Mubarak World Apprentice Series. Gemma said: “The Injured Jockeys Fund have been brilliant and paid for all her medical fees but there’s only so much they can do. Laura needs things like an adaptive car, a chair lift and wet room at home. You never hear her moaning about it, she’s always cracking jokes and having a laugh. It’s never depressing to go see her, always a pleasure.” Laura’s gofundme page went live on Monday evening, with jump jockey Brian Hughes pledging £1,000 to start the fund. At 5.30pm on Tuesday, the fund had already passed £18,000 thanks in no small part to a £5,000 donation by Richard Fahey and the team at Musley Bank. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/laurabarry