Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope to cancer patients from all over the world.
UK COUPLE WEDS DURING CANCER TREATMENT
David Leek and Bobbie Godden, a couple from the UK who flew to Jacksonville in Florida for cancer treatment, will be leaving the UF Health Proton Institute as Mr. and Mrs. David Michael Leek Sr.
David was first diagnosed with a spinal tumor, called a sacral chordoma in 2014. After having it removed, it came back, and following a second surgery his doctor recommended he follow-up with proton therapy, a special type of radiation therapy. David and Bobbie arrived in Jacksonville about a month ago to start David’s treatment. The couple has been together for 13 years and have two kids but they had never married. “Obviously four years now of cancer, so then getting offered proton therapy in this country and then to come here and I think it was just the whole thing of having this treatment, closing one chapter and opening another,” David said. The two married last week on a staircase overlooking the Proton Institute’s lobby in Jacksonville. They exchanged vows in front of patients, doctors and friends they’ve met along the way. The Leeks were the first to ever tie the knot on-site at the Institute. Another patient wedding is scheduled at the same location on May 31. “I feel that we’ve uplifted people,” Bobbie said. “Everybody who comes here is pulling one way or another and for us, to do what we’ve done, it’s taken their mind off of that and given them something else over the last four weeks to focus on.” David has six more weeks of therapy left and he hopes it’s the cure.
CANCER PATIENT TURNED TO MARVEL CHARACTER
During cancer treatment, young Kelly Murphy turned to Marvel character Deadpool for inspiration to help fight his cancerous brain tumor.
Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 and underwent both surgery and chemotherapy. Doctors also recommended proton therapy, a state-of-the-art form of radiation that precisely targets the tumor. The young boy had to be still during the treatment so he wore a fitted mask that was connected to his treatment bed to help keep his head from moving. A Cincinnati Children’s employee painted it to look like Deadpool, a Marvel character. “I felt a connection because Deadpool had cancer too,” he said. Kelly was one of the first to complete proton therapy at Chincinnati Children’s Hospital. His cancer has been in remission for more than a year now, but he still holds onto his mask as a reminder of how brave he is.
TREATMENT FOR 18-MONTH-OLD’S RARE CANCER
Kendall Jolley, an 18-month-old baby suffering from an aggressive form of cancer, needs proton therapy in Florida, but her parents need help as they are facing huge amounts of debt after giving up work to care for her.
Kendall was diagnosed in February with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer, after her mom Kirsty discovered a three-and-a-half-centimeter lump while changing her diaper. Kendall’s parents had to reduce their working hours while their daughter started gruelling chemotherapy, and now face having to pay for flights and accommodation costs to travel to Florida for three months if doctors decide Kendall needs proton treatment to further shrink the tumor. Due to the awkward location of the tumor, in the connective tissue near Kendall’s genitals, doctors say it is highly likely the baby girl will be infertile when she grows up, and regular radiation treatment may not work. Her mom said: “When they started talking about Florida I felt shaken up; it will be hard to survive out there because we aren’t working. We have to pay for our flights to Florida and all that first, for me, my husband, daughter and three-year-old son Leighlan.” Despite the ordeal, Kirsty says her baby is a “fighter” and has not been sick once during her chemotherapy therapy or when she had to undergo blood transfusions. However the cost of keeping up with the many rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and associated tests has put a huge emotional and financial strain on the family, and the added stress has taken its toll on dad Ryan who has recently been diagnosed with depression. If you would like to donate to help the Jolley family with the costs of Kendall’s treatment, please visit their JustGiving page here.