From a five-year-old patient with liver cancer receiving a birthday surprise to a mother-daughter duo releasing a children’s book to help families going through breast cancer treatment, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.
Five-year-old undergoing treatment for liver cancer receives revved up birthday surprise
Bryce Kelley, a five-year-old undergoing treatment for stage 4 liver cancer, was supposed to celebrate his birthday at Legoland in California, however those plans had been thwarted as a result of the stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19.
The boy’s father, Ryan Kelley, arranged for two Corvette groups to drive down the street in a surprise parade. Bryce, an avid fan of cars, just like his father, watched more than 40 Corvettes and several police vehicles from the Santa Clara Sherriff’s Office drive by his house to celebrate his birthday.
“Bryce has been through so much,” said Ryan Kelley in an interview. “He is a five-year-old who has been battling stage 4 liver cancer for two years. And he just deserves something, something special.”
Star-studded virtual event raises more than $5 million for breast cancer research
Recently, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation hosted its annual fundraiser in an inaugural virtual gala as a result of COVID-19.
Elizabeth Hurley, a longtime Estee Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer Campaign ambassador, served as the host of the event. Physicians, researchers and breast cancer survivors, including Edie Falco and Amy Robach, were invited to share their stories. Additionally, Mandy Gonzales, a breast cancer survivor and cast member from “Hamilton”, along with Lin Manuel Miranda, performed hit songs from “In the Heights”.
“Until the day that we can all celebrate the end of breast cancer, I want you to know, I stand with all of you,” said Sir Elton John during the event. “For all those treating patients, caring for a loved one who is sick, grieving for someone who has left us too soon, or valiantly fighting the disease, you are not alone. Stay strong. We are in this together.”
Medal of Honor recipient dies from lung cancer
Former United States Army Staff Sgt. Ron Shurer has died from stage 4 lung cancer at 41.
Shurer was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2018 from President Donald Trump for his actions during a mission in 2008 in Afghanistan to capture or eliminate high-value targets. During that mission, according to a statement from the U.S. Army, Shurer “received word that his forward-assault element was also pinned down at another location, and the forward team had sustained multiple casualties”.
A medic, Shurer made his way to the troops navigating through gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades administering medical aid to soldiers along the way. Once arriving on location, Shurer helped treat four “critically wounded” U.S. Army soldiers and 10 Afghan soldiers that were wounded. During the battle, he was shot by a sniper in the helmet and received an arm wound.
All the troops Shurer provided care to survived.
“For more than six hours, Ron bravely faced down the enemy,” said President Trump at the time. “Not a single American died in that brutal battle, thanks in great measure to Ron's heroic actions.”
Mother-daughter duo release book “No Hair, Don’t Care!” to inspire families experiencing breast cancer
Shaquita Estes and her daughter Lexie released a children’s book, “No Hair, Don’t Care!”, to help families that are experiencing breast cancer.
The book, told through the eyes of Lexie, is about how the family navigated the physical and emotional changes associated with Shaquita’s chemotherapy.
“One day, we were sitting down talking, and she could really remember so much of this journey that we had been on as a family for a year,” said Estes in an interview. “So, then I said, ‘Why don’t we put it to a book? This would be therapeutic, to write down our journey.’”
AIM at Melanoma Foundation founder and president dies of complications from cancer
After Valerie Guild’s daughter died of melanoma at 26, she founded what is now known as AIM at Melanoma. Valerie created the first and only think tank in melanoma, the International Melanoma Working Group, and worked to get researchers and pharmaceutical companies to discuss how to improve melanoma research.
Guild helped open the first collaborative fresh-frozen primary tissue bank for melanoma, giving researchers a critical tool necessary to perform their work. She also helped obtain the first Department of Defense grant for melanoma and skin cancer research in the amount of $4 million, funding that has continued to this day to provide support to the melanoma research community.
Additionally, she worked with lawmakers across the United States to attempt to ban indoor tanning for minors.