Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment is helping youngsters fight against their deadly disease all over the world.
Little Star award for brave Adele
A brave toddler from Evesham, UK has been honored with a Cancer Research UK Little Star award after she received life-saving treatment in America.
Adele Cooper has been chosen for the prestigious honor to mark her inspirational battle with an aggressive form of cancer. The 3-year-old was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in June 2012 after doctors discovered a lump the size of a grapefruit growing in her abdomen. Her mom said: “She had been off her food so I knew something was wrong but it didn’t cross my mind that it could be cancer. When they told us, it was like the whole world stopped.”
Adele then underwent six months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, and a six hour operation to remove what remained. But it was so widespread that doctors sent Adele to Florida for specialist proton beam therapy treatment.
She received the trophy, which has been backed by stars such as Wayne Rooney and Emeli Sandé, along with a gift card and a certificate signed by celebrities. Adele’s family, who have pledged to keep fund-raising for Cancer Research UK, are now hoping her story will inspire others to nominate children diagnosed with the disease. The award is open to all under 18s who have cancer or have been treated in the last five years and nominations can be made by visiting www.cruk.org/littlestar online.
Superheroes needed to help boy beat cancer
A grandmother is calling on superheroes to help send her grandson to America for life-saving treatment.
Little James Baron from the UK, 4, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in November last year. It is a rare form of an aggressive tumor which affects his optic nerve and has spread to his bone. James has already undergone seven chemotherapy sessions but experts believe he is likely to need proton beam therapy, not yet available in the UK.
Fewer than 60 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in the UK each year. Most are younger than 10. The soft tissue sarcomas develop from muscle or fibrous tissue and can grow in any part of the body. With James, it has developed behind his eye, in his optic nerve, and the first signs his family noticed were a bulge in his eye.
James’ grandmother has started fundraising, and will be holding a superheroes-themed disco in the family village this weekend. “Doctors believe he might be a candidate for proton beam therapy, but it isn’t going to be available in the UK for at least another 18 months. We are doing all we can just now to raise funds so they can travel to America for the treatment”, she said. If you wish to donate, please visit https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/wz67.
16-year-old wins $1,000 in her fight against cancer
Serena Lommasson and her mom spent the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 away from home so she could undergo a 30-day proton therapy treatment in Philadelphia to fight her brain cancer.
Serena was first diagnosed one month before she turned 2 years old. She had surgery almost immediately and had her first round of chemotherapy when she turned 3, for a whole year. Then she had another year of chemo at 5 years old and went through numerous surgeries to remove fluid buildup in her brain and create a shunt. Then, in a six-month period in 2009, she had 15 surgeries to replace the shunt. “That was almost scarier than anything else I’ve had to deal with”, her mother said. At a certain point, Serena’s remaining treatment options were limited, and doctors said she would need proton therapy to specifically target the tumor in her adolescent brain.
A family friend who has known Serena since she was born and the strain of cancer on the Lommassons, nominated Serena and her mom for a giveaway contest organized by the Burke & Herbert bank, called Dreams Do Come True. In December, the bank announced that they had won and would receive $1,000.
While Serena and her mom were in Philadelphia, they tried to make the most of the trip, taking in the Liberty Bell, museums and movies. “We did whatever we could to make it an adventure,” said her mom. “That’s what life is.” The next step for Serena is now an MRI to see how effective the radiation was.