At the weekly meeting of the Washington Kiwanis Club today I heard a very interesting talk by Kris Gordon (706 863-7405)concerning her six-year-old grandson Patrick R. Chance and the deadly cancer that has afflicted him for the last three years. Kris told us about the course of his disease, neuroblastoma, and about the efforts to cure it. Patrick was diagnosed in June 2006 with Stage IV neuroblastoma, and, since his diagnosis, Patrick has endured surgery to remove his primary tumor, ten rounds of radiation, and eight rounds of oral chemotherapy. He is now undergoing monoclonal antibody therapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Kris mentioned that cancer is the number-one disease killer of American children. She said that more children die from cancer than from cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, asthma, and AIDS combined, and that neuroblastoma is the second-most common solid tumor in children and is extremely difficult to diagnose. Its progression is often rapid and very painful, and in most cases, children with neuroblastoma are not diagnosed until Stage IV, when long-term survival rates stand at a dismal twenty percent or less, she said.
Unfortunately, pediatric cancer is under-funded, Kris told us, and that in August 2007 physicians announced the development of a new neuroblastoma antibody that may extend the lives of many children with neuroblastoma five to ten years. However, since Federal law precludes the production of the antibody with grants the physicians have appealed to the families of neuroblastoma patients to raise the approximately three million dollars needed to bring the antibody to clinical trials. The parents raised almost one million dollars by December 2007, culminating in a commitment by Sloan-Kettering officials to initiate a contract for the production of the antibody.
Since funding for the hospital's initiative was not and is not now complete, Patrick's parents, Erin and Stephen Chance of Atlanta, formed the Press On Fund of CURE Childhood Cancer, Inc.,Georgia's oldest 501(c)(3)childhood cancer charity for the purpose of providing funding for clinical research relating to neuroblastoma.