Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment is giving hope to young people and raising awareness and generosity all around the world.
2-year-old jetting to America for treatment
February 25th, 2015 – Today, two-year-old Freya Bevan has jetted off with her family to America to get life-saving proton therapy cancer treatment. People are still being urged to fundraise.
Freya was diagnosed with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor last year, and has since undergone numerous operations and sessions of chemotherapy. Her family had hoped she would get NHS funding for proton therapy in America, but following a nine-week wait, they found out last week it would not happen. Now, the Kids n Cancer charity has offered the little girl a lifeline. Since starting fundraising late last year, the Freya Bevan Fund has raised more than £110,000, with £30,000 of that being raised via the gofundme page set up last week. “We are absolutely over the moon, we can’t believe it,” said Freya’s mom. She said she promised to keep everyone who had fundraised up to date. The little girl is set to be treated by Dr Andrew Chang at the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma. When she arrives, she will have to have further scans, with the treatment due to begin a week later.
But despite the charity confirming that they are set to underwrite support the family and underwrite any shortfall in the costs of obtaining treatment in America, fundraisers are still being urged to help the two-year-old. “If it was funded by the health service, if something was to occur, then the hospital would underwrite that cost. But a bed for intensive therapy is anywhere between five to ten thousand a night,” said Mike Hyman, founder of Kids n Cancer.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/FreyaBevan_Fund
Young battler meets her hero
The last few years have been a whirlwind for Deni Atkinson, since she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor in 2013 and later underwent proton therapy in the US in an attempt to stop the growth.
Not only did the therapy stop the growth of Deni’s tumour, it also reduced it by about a third, stunning the Atkinson family and providing relief for what was initially a very scary reality.
By her own account, things have “settled down” now for Deni, who is still getting used to the effects of the therapy more than a year after it was done, and is currently in her final year of high school.
Before settling into school this year, however, Deni and her family were treated to a special trip, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Deni, dad Craig, mum Carmen and her two sisters were flown to Melbourne last month for the Australian Open where Deni was lucky enough to meet her idol Roger Federer. “It was really awesome,” she said. “Make-A-Wish just did such an amazing job.”
Deni’s April trip will take her away from her schooling at an important time, but the dedicated youngster, who wants to eventually work in the medical profession, said she was determined to make it work with a supportive school, and teachers, behind her. Despite the tough challenges, Deni said a lot of opportunities had opened up for her and she added she was positive about the future.
Kayti is due home after specialist treatment in the US
A teenager suffering from a rare form of cancer is looking forward to returning home after spending 10 weeks undergoing specialist proton therapy treatment in America.
Kayti Spargo, of Melton, UK was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in September. She was sent to Jacksonville, Florida, to undergo her proton beam therapy treatment. As Kayti’s tumor is located behind her nose, proton therapy was the best treatment modality to pinpoint the cancer without damaging vital organs and decrease risk to her brain, eyes and ears.
The proton treatment caused a severe rash, making her ears, throat and mouth painful, forcing her to use a feeding tube, but the youngster stunned medical staff by refusing painkillers.
Next week, the youngster and her mom, who has been with her throughout her stay, will fly home. Her dad said : “Kayti can’t wait to get home. The treatment has definitely been taking her toll on her, she’s very homesick and very down. But she’s had the treatment she needed and we now have to wait six weeks before she can have a scan which will tell us how successful it’s been”.
Fund raising events have so far generated more than £4,000 to pay for a dream holiday for Keyti in either Italy or Sweden. Her dad added: “We’re really grateful for all the money that people have raised for Kayti. We’re really looking forward to having her back home now.”