Today is Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a day of celebration that spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
Today is also the day that our Little Fighter, Aleem’s greatest wish would have been made manifest as he would have flown up to Durban with his mommy Kaneez and sister Kamie to meet Gambit the Dolphin at uShaka Marine World today.
Today is also the day that Aleem’s Family and Loved Ones will say their final goodbyes as his funeral takes place at 9am…
Emotions are all over the place… there are no words…
Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina.
Retinoblastoma can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.
In many developing countries where tumours can progress until they literally burst out of eyes, retinoblastoma remains an often fatal diagnosis, whereas in other countries the survival rate has risen to 98%.
Retinoblastoma was one of the first cancers to have its genetic origins identified in the late 1980s — a finding that helped launch the current era of personalised treatments that have transformed treatment of breast, lung, and prostate cancer.
To date though, children who develop these rare tumours have not benefited from that wave of precision diagnostics and therapies. This is mainly due to the fact that doctors have not been able to biopsy the tumours for genetic information that could guide treatment, without removing the very eyes the clinicians are trying so hard to save.
You can read about our own Little Fighter, Helen’s story HERE
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.
May Allah grant him a high place in Jannah In Sha Allah
May his Loved Ones find contentment in knowing that their Beautiful Boy is no longer suffering and in pain
Ya Allah place sabr and contentment in the hearts of this family In Sha Allah Ameen
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”
A new study from Sweden, Childhood Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Risk of Cancer: a Swedish Nationwide Cohort Study 1964-2014, has found that children with inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk of cancer – especially gastrointestinal cancers – both in childhood and in later life, compared with individuals without the disease.
The international team of researchers, including members of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, reported the findings in the BMJ, a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, on 20 September 2017.
The lack of data for childhood onset inflammatory bowel disease is especially worrisome given the increasing incidence and prevalence of Paediatric Crohn’s disease (mainly colitis).
The study notes that the raised risk of cancer for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) carries on into adulthood and has not reduced following the introduction of new ways to manage the disease, such as with biological agents.
While researchers found a higher relative risk of cancer, the absolute risks are low. Compared with healthy individuals, there was one extra case of cancer for every 556 people with IBD followed for 1 year.
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.
Summer is coming to South Africa, and summer is a great time to celebrate fresh food. Summer dishes ranging from salads to burgers are even more tasty and nutritious when topped with a lesser-known vegetable: fresh sprouts. Sprouts are tiny plants produced without soil — a type of fresh greens that can be grown virtually anywhere, at any time of year.
Fresh and tasty sprouts are raw, vegan, low in fat and cholesterol-free. Add them to a dish and you’ll be getting Vitamin C, Folic Acid, and good phytonutrients. Sprouts are also great for the digestion!
Sprouts are nutritional powerhouses that add flavour, texture and contrast to a salad or sandwich. Most varieties go from seed to sprout in about five days. They don’t need soil, so there’s no mess. They’re compact, so they can grow indoors, in small spaces. The quickness of this crop makes it a great project for kids — they love watching the seeds germinate and grow.
There are hundreds of ways to heal cancer and enzyme therapy is seen to be a very effective treatment.
The idea of healing cancer with enzymes was first discovered by Dr John Beard, an embryologist who spent 20 years researching cancer.
He found that pancreatic enzymes were not present in the blood of cancer patients. Although his first article was published in 1902, his theory about cancer still holds up to rigorous scientific scrutiny.
Dr John Beard proposed in 1906 that pancreatic proteolytic digestive enzymes represent the body’s main defence against cancer, and that enzyme therapy would be useful as a treatment for all types of cancer.
During the first two decades of the twentieth century, Dr Beard’s thesis attracted some attention in academic circles, and several case reports in the medical literature documented tumour regression and even remission in terminal cancer patients treated with proteolytic enzymes.
In 1911, Dr Beard published a monograph entitled The Enzyme Therapy of Cancer and Its Scientific Basis, which summarised his therapy and the supporting evidence.
After Dr Beard’s death in 1923, the enzyme therapy was largely forgotten. Periodically, other practitioners have rediscovered Dr Beard’s work, and used pancreatic proteolytic enzymes as an alternative cancer treatment.