It is with overwhelming sadness and aching hearts that today we have to share with you the heartbreaking news that Little Fighter Aleem Bowman earned his Angel Wings at 19H20 last night, 15th October.
Rest in Peace, Aleem ^Forever 5^
Aleem would have flown to Durban with his mom and sister – accompanied by Mandie from the Little Fighters Cancer Trust – this coming Thursday to meet Gambit and the other dolphins at uShaka Marine World…
In the meantime an opportunity was presented for Aleem to experience his other love – the love of flying and all things do with flying, speed and height – by going on a chartered flight around Cape Town with his mom and sister on Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately this was also not to be…
They were all gathered at the airport ready to go on the flight then, just before they were about to board the plane, Aleem started vomiting up blood and his nose started to bleed.
He was rushed through to Red Cross Hospital and given platelets after which he and his family returned home. Aleem’s Mommy asked the doctor to be straightforward with her about how much time she thought Aleem had left, and the doctor told his mom that they should spend as much time with Aleem as possible and that they need to prepare themselves, as he could go at any time.
Aleem was not well over the weekend and was admitted to hospital on Sunday morning.
The doctor informed Aleem’s mommy at this stage that her son would most likely not make it through the day…
Aleem was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in September 2016, and underwent RCCH High Risk Neuroblastoma Protocol until April 2017, which included tests, scans, blood work, regular transfusions, hospitalisation, intensive chemotherapy and various other treatments.
Unfortunately none of these worked for Aleem and he was eventually put on maintenance chemo for a short while after all treatment options had been pursued, until that too was stopped as it was not helping and in actual fact may have done more harm than good to continue.
Aleem’s mommy decided that palliative care would be continued at home as she did not want Aleem to spend his last little while in a hospital.
Our deepest condolences go out to Aleem’s Mommy Kaneez, sister Kamie and all other Loved Ones.
Forever in Our Hearts
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy is a form of cancer immunotherapy which seeks to sharpen and strengthen the immune system’s inherent cancer-fighting powers.
CAR T-Cell Therapy was approved in August 2017 ~ the first time that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CAR T-cell therapy for a form of cancer ~ for the treatment of paediatric and young adult patients with B-cell ALL that has relapsed or hasn’t responded to previous treatments.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a type of leukaemia in which a group of white blood cells, called lymphocytes, are affected. Leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children, and about 80% of children with leukaemia have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
CAR T-Cell Therapy involves treating patients with modified versions of their own immune system T cells – white blood cells that help protect the body from disease.
Lewis Silverman, MD, Clinical Director of the Hematologic Malignancy Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, said:
“It’s a very exciting development in our ability to treat childhood ALL. It offers hope to those that we haven’t been able to treat with conventional therapy. This is a hugely exciting time in childhood leukaemia research”
Today we put out a very urgent plea for help to make a wish come true for young Aleem, a 5-year-old boy with terminal cancer.
Little Fighter Aleem Bowman was born on 25 July 2012. When he was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital on 15 September 2016, he was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.
Aleem went through RCCH High Risk Neuroblastoma Protocol until April 2017, which included tests, scans, blood work, regular transfusions, hospitalisation, intensive chemotherapy and other treatments, and loads more.
Mommy Kaneez, a single mother, has had to handle a lot, and unfortunately this became even worse when the doctors informed her recently that there are simply no more treatment options for Aleem. He was on maintenance chemo for a short while, which was given purely to extend the time he has with his family, but even the maintenance chemo has now been stopped, as it serves no purpose anymore, and could now be harmful.
Aleem lives with his mommy (who had to give up her job to look after Aleem) and his older sister Kami at Kaneez’s elderly Parents’ home. Things have been very difficult for this family and The Little Fighters Cancer Trust has been offering whatever assistance we could such as food, clothing, bedding, and other practical needs since 7 October 2016.
Aleem was friends with another Little Fighter who lost his Fight last year, but who, before he died got his greatest wish and was able to visit Durban and have a very special interaction with the dolphins at Ushaka Marine World. Aleem saw the photographs, and has been talking about the dolphins for months!
Last week LFCT received a letter from Aleem’s Oncologist, positive about this travel and clearing him medically for the trip!
In an effort to improve outcomes for patients with some of the deadliest Childhood Cancers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have created the world’s largest collection of Childhood solid tumour samples, drug-sensitivity data and related information and have made the resource available at no charge to the global scientific community.
St. Jude and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute collaborated to create the resource, known as the Childhood Solid Tumour Network (CSTN), which was launched in 2013.
“Survival rates for children with recurrent solid tumours have not improved significantly in more than 20 years and remain below 30 %,” said corresponding author Michael Dyer, Ph.D., Chair of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “This research will change that by promoting scientific collaboration to leverage the efforts of researchers worldwide to advance understanding and ultimately treatment of Childhood solid tumours.”
For the first time in history, there are more obese individuals in the world than underweight people. Both are symptoms of malnutrition, part of a global food system geared towards profits.
Activists are calling for a radical shift in the entire food system, including a total ban on junk food advertising. Is it possible and will it make a difference?
Consuming junk-food, especially sugary carbonated drinks, is “effectively poisoning your body”, according to Andrew Bennie, a food sovereignty activist and researcher, based at the University of the Witwatersrand. “So why are people allowed to advertise the consumption of poison, really?” he asks.
Last year, the United Nations called on all governments to outlaw the advertising of junk food to children saying that these “commercial messages have the potential to shape children’s long term consumer and financial behaviour, and they are growing in number and reach”.
In South Africa, the Advertising Code of Practice was amended in 2008 to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to children under the age of 12, but this has not yet happened – a National Department of Health-led policy to increase this to all school-going age children has been stalled for several years.
Today we thought we would continue the “Colourful Foods” or “Eat the Rainbow” vibe that we started yesterday, seeing that it is Friday… nearly weekend… and we want to have a little fun… and we like unicorns 🦄
Smoothies are great “go-to” nutritional drinks for Children with Cancer who are having difficulty eating due to their cancer or as a side-effect of their cancer treatments.
Smoothies can generally be more easily tolerated and are one way to ensure that your Child with Cancer is getting the vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals etc. that they need to boost their immune system and help them fight their cancer.
Smoothies are also a great way to get children to “drink their veggies” and the best part of it all is that they will not even realise that those great drinks actually contain veggies because they go down so smoothly 😉
Foods can be divided into categories based on their colours and each category has a collective set of health benefits. This not only makes foods interesting, but also helps remember which food is good for which health aspect.
Eating a variety of colourful food provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to nourish your body that can’t be replicated in a supplement.
So what does colour have to do with diet anyway? One word: phytochemicals. These substances occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those that essential nutrients provide.
Colour, such as what makes a blueberry so blue, can indicate some of these substances, which are thought to work synergistically with vitamins, minerals, and fibre (all present in fruits and vegetables) in whole foods to promote good health and lower disease risk.
According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protect and regenerate essential nutrients, and/or work to deactivate cancer-causing substances.
Hippocrates is credited with saying “Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine”.
Dr. Johanna Budwig, however, is known for implementing this belief and making it a reality in her medical practices.
Dr. Johanna Budwig had a doctorate in physics and PhD in natural science, and was also a chemist and qualified pharmacologist. In the 1950’s, she was the chief expert consultant for drugs and fats at the Bundesanstalt fur Fettforschung, or Federal Institute for Fats Research, in Germany.
Budwig began analysing the blood of thousands of cancer patients, and found two striking common themes throughout the samples she took. The first was that almost all very ill cancer patients were extremely deficient in phosphatides and lipoproteins (two types of fat molecules produced in the body that are essential for NORMAL cell division).
She also noticed that whereas a healthy person’s blood would contain red, oxygen-carrying haemoglobin, in its place the cancer patients’ blood contained a “greenish-yellow substance.”
The use of magnets as a medical device goes back centuries, maybe even to the ancient Aztecs of Central America.
In the 14th century, Paracelsus, a physician and alchemist, claimed that steel magnets could attract diseases out of the body, and help draw them to the surface where they could be removed.
The Ancient Greeks discovered lodestone which is considered by many to be the very first natural magnet. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, discussed the use of magnets in his healing protocols.
An American who became interested in magnetic healing, Daniel David Palmer, opened Palmer’s School of Magnetic Cure in Iowa in the 1890s. His ideas developed into the system of hands-on therapy known today as chiropractic.
While Magnets are used in complex medical imaging procedures – such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which uses magnetic fields to formulate 3-D images of the brain and electroencephalographs (EEG), which look at the electrical activity of the brain – to better understand the body, and magnets are used as a healing therapy throughout many areas of Europe and Asia, the therapy has not been accepted by the traditional medical community in many countries.
Up until now, drug companies have been free to decide whether to pursue treatments for paediatric cancers as part of their work on adult cancers or not, and this has led to a minimal amount of new drugs specifically for paediatric cancers being developed.
An estimated 2,000 children die of cancer annually, and the overall incidence of childhood cancer has been slowly increasing since 1975 – there has been a 13% rise in Childhood Cancer in the past 20 years alone.
Despite significant advances against certain pediatric cancers, including Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, there are still some types of cancer for which there are few or no effective treatments.
The truth is that new drug development in pediatric cancer is extremely slow, often lagging way behind adult treatments, and few compounds are designed specifically for children.
The sad truth is that Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year, and that is is not much of a market for drug makers, who rack up an estimated $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs while bringing a novel drug to market.