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 fight for their life.
MOM’S ATTEMPT TO FUND DAUGHTER’S TREATMENT
Poppy, a 3-year-old girl from the UK, has been fighting brain cancer since she was just 16 months old. Her 22-year-old mom Elle Martin is now trying to fund life-saving treatment for her daughter, as she just learned that the tumor had spread.
Poppy was diagnosed with cancer in July 2016 and has since undergone 72 rounds of chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor. Her mom Elle said: “Everything happened so quickly. Poppy started chemo exactly one month after she was diagnosed. She lost so much weight from the chemo, she was so sick. She was aware of what was happening to her but not why it was happening. She went from being a perfectly healthy child to all of a sudden having injections and chemo nearly daily.” Poppy has already lost sight in her left eye, and the tumor will also affect her memory, speech and non-verbal communication. Elle has just been told that her daughter’s tumor has grown on 14 parts of her brain, including the brain stem and pituitary gland, and Poppy now needs radiotherapy. Elle was told conventional radiotherapy would be too dangerous and would certainly leave her completely blind, which is why she is trying to raise £250,000 for groundbreaking proton therapy in Jacksonville, Florida, as it is not available on the NHS. Elle said: “This is a potentially life-saving treatment and could give Poppy a long and happy life. We could have a future with her. It would mean everything to us if we raised enough to go. Please help my little princess live a life free from this evil disease.” To help Poppy, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/poppysplea
ENJOYING RETIREMENT AFTER SUCCESSFUL PT
Barry Osman, a 70-year-old grandfather from the Isle of Wight in the UK who travelled 800 miles for state-of-the-art cancer treatment, is praising the state-of-the-art treatment he received.
Barry was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and enlarged lymph nodes after a routine blood test 2 years ago. “I didn’t have any real symptoms but I hadn’t had a PSA test for two years, so while I was at the doctors for something else I asked for one. I had an MRI scan soon after the test, which showed a tumor in my prostate. Thereafter I had a full body scan that showed the two left lymph nodes were enlarged but thankfully the cancer had not travelled anywhere else”. Barry spent 3 months having hormone treatment to stop his body making testosterone, which fuels the growth of prostate cancer cells. The treatment helped to shrink the size of his tumor but not cure it. Determined to live his life to the full, Barry had started to research alternative treatments and became very interested in proton therapy. He decided to travel to Prague, Czech Republic for the pioneering treatment, which was not available on the NHS. “I was the first patient from the Isle of Wight to go to Prague for treatment. He underwent 21 ‘fractions’ over the course of 5 weeks and spent over £30,000 on his treatment and accommodation, but he rationalizes: “Some people spend as much and more on a car that sits in a garage but wouldn’t even think about spending that amount on their health and well-being, I know what I think was better for me.” The granddad of 4 is now fit and well and enjoying an active retirement.
4-YEAR OLD FLYING TO FLORIDA FOR PT
James O’Conner, a 4-year-old boy from Lincolnshire in the UK who has been battling brain cancer for two years, has been sent to Florida for pioneering proton therapy in a bid to save his life as his tumor has returned.
James was first diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor called anaplastic ependymona in February 2016, for which he was given a 75% chance of living at 5 years. He then had surgery to remove the tumor from the back of his head. He developed complications from the surgery, making him unable to fly to America for further treatment, and had 56 weeks of chemotherapy instead. James finished his treatment in March 2017, but the tumor was found to have returned 11 months later. His dad said: “When we went through it the first time the chemotherapy was arduous and long, and it was hard for him to go through. Then to be diagnosed as a re-occurrence was very difficult.” James has now been selected for proton therapy in Florida, and his family will travel to America for 9 weeks while he undergoes treatment almost every day. The NHS is funding the treatment and the travel for James’ parents, but the family need to raise around £8,000 to fund travel for James’ twin brother Joshua. The treatment is already underway and expected to last until mid-June. James’ dad said that the treatment has been going well so far: “He deals with everything that is thrown at him with a smile on his face. It’s hard to see your son being put to under anaesthetic every day because he has cancer, it’s not an easy thing. We try to make the best of a bad situation seeing him smile and being cheery helps us get through it.” To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jamesoconnor