Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping sick children and their families battle and overcome cancer.
FANTASTIC HELP FOR BRAVE BRETT
9-year-old Brett Scott from the UK will travel to the US next week for 11 weeks of proton therapy thanks to the fantastic response to his fundraising campaign. This will be the latest round of his treatment in a battle against brain cancer he has bravely waged since 2009.
At the age of 3, Brett was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor known as anaplastic ependymoma. Following surgery and chemotherapy, which resulted in mobility, sight and hearing problems, scans appeared to show the tumor had shrunk. He was able to return to school and enjoy a normal childhood. But six months ago tests revealed the cancer had returned, and Brett underwent an operation at St James’s Hospital in Leeds last month. Doctors have decided that proton therapy is now his best chance of beating the disease. Although the NHS will pay for the operation, the family’s flights, the cost of their accommodation and a hire car, a fundraising campaign was launched on Facebook to support the family during their 11-week stay. Brett’s family also hopes enough funds will be raised to enable Brett’s 17-year-old sister to be with her brother for part of his treatment in the US. Describing the response to the fundraising appeal, Brett’s father said: “It has been just an outstanding response and quite humbling. The community has rallied behind Brett. We have had contributions from our area and from as far as America and Canada. I’d really like to thank everyone.”
4-YEAR-OLD’S FAMILY FIGHTING FOR CANCER TREATMENT
The family of a 4-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumor has vowed to fight to find a cure despite doctors estimating she may have just two years to live. They are hoping proton therapy will be able to help their daughter.
Lena Grabowski, 4, is currently undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy in a bid to shrink the extensive brainstem glioblastoma discovered during a trip to Poland: Lena was visiting family with her parents, when the 4 cm brain tumor was diagnosed after she had problems with her vision. Her parents have launched a fundraising mission to raise £75,000 to fund groundbreaking proton beam therapy, but doctors are now questioning whether the youngster would be a suitable candidate for the treatment. Lena’s mom said: “After consultation with many doctors we are coming up against the same thing – that all treatments at the moment that can be undertaken will extend the life of our child but not cure her. We have been told that our beloved daughter will live, in the best-case scenario, one or two years from now. We have a long way to go and will continue in the relentless search for a cure – as any parent would. We live in hope that the prognosis is wrong and Lena lives a long full happy life.” Since the fundraising page was launched, £35,514 has been raised and it is hoped proton therapy treatment may still be an option after treatment to shrink the tumor. “We hope she will be strong enough to make the best of the time she has left of her life and make her dreams and wishes come true. We just want our daughter to live the best life possible, happy and without pain over the coming days, months and years.”
TODDLER THRIVING AFTER SUCCESSFUL CANCER TREATMENT
A brave toddler who captured the attention of people throughout Wales in the UK with her cancer battle is now in school and thriving according to her mom.
Little Freya Bevan from Wales, UK was diagnosed with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) last year, and underwent numerous operations and chemotherapy sessions. Her family had hoped she would get NHS funding for proton beam therapy in America, but following a nine-week wait, they found out that it would not happen. The family then set about raising funds to get Freya to America to have the lifesaving treatment they could not afford alone. Their efforts were noticed by media outlets across the country and hundreds of thousands were donated to their cause. Despite being some way off their target earlier this year, their prayers were answered when charity Kids n Cancer offered a lifeline in the form of proton beam treatment at the ProCure proton therapy center in Oklahoma. Now, five months on from the end of her ten-week treatment in America, Freya is thriving, and is now attending school in the mornings. Her mom says she is doing very well, and that she is very happy to have things back to normal. “Thanks to the successful treatment, she’s now full of energy and life, just like any little girl her age should be. She is just so well, there are no signs of headaches or tiredness. She is just really happy, which makes us really happy in return!”