A Special South African Boy
In October 2017, a gorgeous two-year-old boy, Keanu Moore-van de Giessen, was diagnosed with Stage 4, High-Risk Neuroblastoma Cancer. Keanu was diagnosed with two tumours, one very small tumour on his adrenal gland, and a 3cm mass behind his aorta, against his spine. In addition, he had cancer infiltration in 65% of his bones and bone marrow.
He commenced with the Rapid COJEC Protocol in October 2017 and completed his eight sessions of chemotherapy in January 2018. Around Day 40 of his chemotherapy, his bone marrow was morphologically in remission. His evaluation scans (MRI, CT and MIBG) and bone-marrow biopsy, showed no sign of the disease in his bones and bone marrow. The mass at the adrenal gland has been successfully removed, and the mass against his spine has been reduced to unmeasurable slithers and open-chest surgery is too much of a high risk.
March – May 2018: Keanu undergoes surgery to remove the tumour on his adrenal gland. He also receives more chemotherapy to shrink the tumour behind his heart. The chemotherapy destroys the remaining tumour and Keanu is declared NED (No Evidence of Disease).
June 2018: Keanu is admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital for a stem cell transplant, where he remains in isolation for 4 weeks. At the same time it is confirmed that Keanu will go to Sant Joan de Dèu (SJD) Children’s Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, for immunotherapy treatment…departure date 17 September 2018.
August 2018: Three weeks of radiation commence. Keanu handles the radiation very well, with only some nausea and vomiting as side-affects.
September 2018: Keanu is admitted to hospital for severe sepsis. The Hickman Line is to blame and it is removed. Unfortunately this also results in the departure date for Spain being moved out to 1 October 2018.
October 2018: Keanu and his family arrive in Barcelona, Spain. SJD Hospital immediately commences with tests and scans to confirm that Keanu is still NED. Immunotherapy officially started on 22 October 2018.
March 2019: The family arrived safely back in Cape Town – Immunotherapy completed and Keanu is in Remission!
April 2019: Keanu and Mommy flew to the Helen De Vos Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, to start a maintenance tablet, DFMO. The trial is being run by Dr. Gizelle Scholler.
“We believe that by using DFMO to target an important cancer stem cell pathway to ‘turn cells off,’ we may prevent children from relapsing. Cancer cells have pathways that drive the cancer to grow and DFMO targets a specific pathway to turn these cells off.” DFMO is well tolerated and a “quality of life” treatment.”
June 2019: Follow-up evaluation MIBG scans reveal our warriour remains in remission, therefore they will be leaving on their second journey (two-year treatment) to Michigan.
The #Cure4Keanu campaign is aimed at raising funds to allow Keanu to receive life saving immunotherapy treatment not available in South Africa. The price tag for this treatment is R5 million. The campaign has thus far raised R3.8 million. Please support us in raising the remaining funds to give this little boy a fighting chance.
Neuroblastoma accounts for 6% of paediatric cancers and accounts for 50% of all cancers in infants, making it the most common tumour in infants younger than 1 years old. The number of cases worldwide is about the same, which indicates that environmental factors do not seem to have an influence on Neuroblastoma occurrence. While the prognosis is quite favourable for low to moderate risk patients (80% to 95%), high risk patients have a 60% chance of relapse with no known cure for relapse Neuroblastoma. This statistic can only be improved if new treatments are developed through research and treatment trials, and made available to all children. Through education and increase in public awareness we can make a difference.
Follow KEANU ons Superkind / #Cure4Keanu on Facebook for live updates on his progress and journey.
Fundraising for Keanu Moore
Beautiful Blue Bracelets for Keanu; consisting of blue wooden beads with a Believe, Starfish and Dolphin charm.
Neuroblastoma Cancer Awareness Bracelets for Keanu; consisting of gold & dark purple wooden beads with an Angel, Awareness ribbon, small Tree of life, or Made-with-love Heart charm.