Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving hope and gathering people’s generosity around families in need.
APPEAL FOR BRAIN TUMOR BOY
Alexander Vinson, 2 years old, needs proton therapy to fight against his brain tumor. His family is faced with the task of quickly raising £150,000 to send him to the US for the groundbreaking treatment.
Alexander has been diagnosed with a rare atypical teratoid rhabdoid brain tumour, known as ATRT. Alexander was initially taken ill on a flight to Romania back in the summer. “He started being sick and was walking with his head tilted, and we couldn’t work out why,” his mom said. “We were told that it was a brain tumor – and the only option from there was for Alex to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment,” she added. The fast-growing tumor is developing in Alexander’s brain and spinal cord, giving his parents a race against time. Alexander has already undergone two 8-hour operations to remove approximately 80% of the tumor. He is already undergoing chemotherapy and will receive radiation treatment when he turns three. The family has been told that proton therapy is his best option, but because his type of tumor is not on the NHS’s funding list, funding for the treatment is not available. This means that Alexander’s parents have no option but to raise the money themselves. The couple contacted the charity Kids ‘n’ Cancer, which has already helped almost 150 families in the past five years, and has agreed to adopt Alexander’s campaign. “It’s now a case of raising the funds as soon as we can to enable Alexander to start recovery treatment in America,” his dad said. “If we can it would be the best Christmas present that we could wish for.” For more information or to support Alexander’s appeal, visit his just giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/actionforalexander/.
SISTER FUNDING LIFE-SAVING TREATMENT FOR LITTLE BROTHER
A charity drum and bass night will be held in Reading, England to raise money and fund potentially life saving treatment for Charlie Ilsley, an 8-year-old boy suffering from brain cancer.
After undergoing 38 rounds of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, brain surgery and physiotherapy, Charlie is still battling against brain cancer and may require further treatment. His family have been told that more radiotherapy would put Charlie at risk of developing a second cancer, and they are thus looking to access proton beam therapy. Charlie’s family still remains hopeful that he will win his battle without proton therapy and if so, they will donate the funds to the John Radcliffe Hospital children’s cancer unit. “The MRI scans shows that the chemotherapy and radiotherapy have worked. He will still be having chemotherapy until January but his doctors have said that he will most likely relapse as it is an aggressive cancer. It will be too much of a risk giving him more radiotherapy so we are trying to fund proton beam therapy”, his 26-year-old sister Jessica said. As the procedure is not available on the NHS, Jessica is putting on a charity event at Club20 in Hoiser Street, Reading, UK on Friday November 20. She added: “I would like to say a special thank you to everybody who is playing on my night, everyone at Club20, all my friends, family and people on social media for sharing. I hope everyone has a awesome night.”
FAMILY COPING WITH SON’S HEALTH CRISIS
Each weekday morning for the past four weeks, Jeffrey Woody Jr. and his parents from Newburgh, N.Y., have risen from their beds in a Somerset, N.J., hotel room and renewed their battle for the young man’s future.
Six months ago, Jeffrey Woody Jr., 24, was preparing to graduate from college, planning and dreaming for his future. That was before the vomiting, the paralyzed vocal cord and the headaches, and before a neurologist delivered the diagnosis: melanotic schwannoma, a rare brain tumor. Jeffrey tried to avoid talking to his parents as his voice began to weaken. He tried to pretend the headaches, vomiting and weight loss were not serious. In April, two months before graduation, his weight had dropped to 135 pounds from 155 pounds and his voice had dropped to a whisper. “I was slowly deteriorating,” he said. At the hospital, doctors prescribed medication for an ulcer and acid reflux. He returned a week later, this time admitted for pneumonia. A neurologist was called and an MRI ordered, which showed a paralyzed right vocal cord and a brain mass. He underwent surgery on August 4th, which removed most of the tumor. Now, he is facing six weeks of radiation therapy. Jeffrey and his family are spending their weeks away from home to get him proton therapy treatment at the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, NJ. At some point between noon and 3 p.m., he sits in a chair, medical technicians put on music and place a custom-molded mask over his face, and for 20 minutes, a machine sends a concentrated beam of protons to sections along the right half of his head. “They say after the third week, that’s when it gets worse,” his mom said. For now, Jeffrey is only enduring increasing fatigue and the loss of his facial hair.