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Rest in Peace Rene-Lily Gaskell

It is with such sadness and a heavy heart that I need to inform you that our brave little cancer warrior Rene-Lily ran into the arms of Jesus at 06:00am this morning. The battle is over and she is at peace now and free from pain.

To Lily`s family: Please accept our deepest sympathies for the loss of your Lily. We pray that the light of God’s love shine upon you as you face the darkness of your pain and your grief. Know that God will never forsake you. He will always look after you because you are His child and He is your Father. May you be blessed with the peace and comfort that you seek during this difficult time.

May God give you all the Grace to accept what has happened and the serenity to carry on living.

Karin Harmse & AOM Team.

Lily`s bracelets will be available until the 15th of June 2022. Wear yours in memory of a brave little girl who fought until the bitter end, and who was loved by so many. Order from our agents or shop online.

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Rest in Peace Arizona Hoy

Rest in Peace Arizona Hoy

It was with such sadness and a heavy heart that I need to inform you that our brave little cancer warrior ran into the arms of Jesus. The battle is over; she is at peace now and free from pain.

Arizona Hoy was only 4 years old when she was diagnosed with High-Risk Stage IV Neuroblastoma Cancer. She had a tumor located on her left adrenal gland which metastasized from its primary location to multiple lymph nodes, the bone marrow and bones. This type of cancer only affects around 100 children under five per year in South Africa. High risk patients have a 60% chance of relapse with no known cure for relapse Neuroblastoma. Despite these statistics, Arizona had intensive Chemotherapy at Red Cross War Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, in hopes of seeing a reduction in the size and spread of the tumors – and she rang the bell on the 28th of February 2020. They were looking into further treatment options for Arizona abroad, and needed to do serious fundraising to make it possible.

To Arizona’s Family:
Please accept our deepest sympathies for the loss of your baby girl. We pray that the light of God’s love shines upon you as you face the darkness of your pain and your grief. Know that God will never forsake you. He will always look after you because you are His child and He is your Father. May you be blessed with the peace and comfort that you seek during this difficult time.

Lamentations 3:31-33: “For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men”.

May God give you all the Grace to accept what has happened and the serenity to carry on living.
Team AOM.

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Rest in Peace Mairah Hassan

Rest in Peace Mairah Hassan

It was with such sadness and a heavy heart that I need to inform you that our brave little cancer warrior Mairah ran into the arms of Jesus . The battle is over and she is at peace now and free from pain.

When Mairah was just 15 months old, she was diagnosed with Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma, which is a form of childhood cancer. She also had a genetic mutation fueling the cancer, which made treatment much harder.


To Mairah’s Family:
Please accept our deepest sympathies for the loss of your baby girl. We pray that the light of God’s love shines upon you as you face the darkness of your pain and your grief. Know that God will never forsake you. He will always look after you because you are His child and He is your Father. May you be blessed with the peace and comfort that you seek during this difficult time.

Lamentations 3:31-33: “For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men”.

May God give you all the Grace to accept what has happened and the serenity to carry on living.
Team AOM.

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Fundraising for Liané Rossouw – Neuroblastoma Cancer

Liané Rossouw

Liané`s story:

Liané Rossouw (1 yr.) was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in December 2020 when she was only 8 months old. She was due to start her chemotherapy on the 19th of December, but she stopped breathing that morning. She was resuscitated and rushed to the pediatric ICU, and was on a ventilator for a little over a week.

The resuscitation caused extensive brain damage and has resulted in her losing her vision. The place where the tumour was, was also pressing against her spine causing the nerves in that area of the spine to die, which will never regrow, meaning Liané would never walk.

After the resuscitation, she completed 4 rounds of intensive chemotherapy. The chemo she had completed shrunk the tumour A LOT, but it was still active and still there.

We had a discussion with the doctors and we were given 3 choices:
1. Intensive chemotherapy which might help, but will make her extremely sick.
2. Less invasive chemotherapy which will just keep the tumour under control and slow down the spread.
3. No treatment.

We went with option 2, knowing that this chemotherapy is not designed to “cure” but to give us just a little bit more time.

Liané was scheduled to go for a MiBG scan in February 2021, but she was just too weak, so they canceled it. Since her last round of intensive chemotherapy, she completed 6 rounds of less invasive chemotherapy and she was strong enough to do the MiBG scan.

6 October 2021, we got to do the first part of the MiBG and then the second part the day after. I got to be with her while they did the scan. I asked the radiologist to explain to me what she is seeing on the scans if she can after the second day and she asked me quite a lot of questions regarding treatments, etc.

She could not find ANY tumour in Liané’s body. 12 October 2021, her doctors could confirm Liané was in remission and no active tumour can be seen or found in her body. LIANÉ HAS BEAT CANCER!!!

What do we do now?

Liané still needs to receive physio to improve her strength and movement. She still has the feeding tube. Her eyesight is improving and is reacting to lightness and darkness.

Liané has to go for blood tests to keep an eye on her for the next 6 months. She also has to do urine tests and she might do follow up scans to just keep an eye on it.

By supporting the AOM bracelet initiative you are helping to raise funds to contribute to Liané`s medical expenses. Together we can change the world, one bracelet at a time!

Alternatively, please consider a donation; any and all donations welcome. REF: Liané Rossouw.

Follow Hope for Liané on Facebook for live updates on her progress and journey.

Fundraising for Liané Rossouw

Anchored in Hope Bracelets

The “Anchored in Hope” Bracelets for Liané consist of gold and pink wooden beads with crystal, silver and diamante fillers.

Charm options: Anchor / Hope / Hope-Awareness Ribbon.

To place an order, contact the agent in your area or shop online.

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Fundraising for Mia-Lee Lamprecht – Stage IV Neuroblastoma Cancer

Mia-Lee Lamprecht

Mia-Lee`s story:

“Hi! My name is MIA-LEE (A.K.A. WARRIOR PRINCESS). I was 17 months old when I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma on 7 October 2020. This is a type of childhood cancer that attacks the nervous system and can develop into other forms of cancer too. A bit of a tricky one, I know. This was also the day when it felt like our worlds has fallen apart and nothing will ever be the same for me and my family. Let me tell you a little more about my journey…

On 8 October 2020 I had my 1st operation as I was basically paralyzed and couldn’t stand or walk anymore. The tumor that is growing inside of my little body measured the size of a cold-drink can and is situated behind my heart, wrapped around the aorta, compressing my lungs and left kidney. It is huge for such a petite little person! After spending 5 nights in ICU all by myself, I was transferred to Wits Donald Gordon Hospital which I believe have become my new home for quite some time. This is where it all started… It was on the 19th October when I received the first round of chemo. After the 4th cycle, a CT scan determined that the chemo had a poor response and the protocol was then changed. A lot has happened in-between chemo rounds. I became tired and ill, lost my appetite, my beautiful strawberry-blonde locks and a lot of weight. Fluid was building up inside my lungs which blocked my airways and I was in ICU twice in a critical condition.

The second time, I contracted sepsis due to the drain that was inserted between my ribs. Things didn’t look good for me and my family was praying non-stop for my recovery. This was also the time in my life when I was introduced to the Bible and who Jesus is. He lives inside of my heart now, and if Jesus didn’t know who MIA-LEE was before, He sure know’s now.

I am a girl with purpose in life and on 1 January 2021, I have taken my first steps for the second time and doing really well.

I have decided that nothing will get me down. My journey is still not over and I have many battles that I will still need to fight. I want to tell you something today and remember these words… “GOD WILL BRING NOTHING ON YOUR WAY THAT YOU AREN`T STRONG ENOUGH TO HANDLE.”

Thank you for supporting my journey.”

By supporting our fundraising initiative you can help to raise funds for Mia-Lee`s ongoing medical care and expenses. Together we can change the world, one bracelet at a time!

On the 10th of March 2021 Mia-Lee went for surgery to have most of the tumor in her chest removed. Sadly, the surgery didn’t go so well as the surgeon couldn’t take anything out. The tumor is too big and too complex and they are going to try find other alternatives.

Update 30 July 2021 via Mia-Lee`s Facebook Page

“Our Miracle Mia-Lee is in VERY GOOD PARTIAL REMISSION!!!! This news came from Prof. Janet Poole this morning after Mia-Lee had a weekly routine check to check her blood counts. Her white cell count is now at 4.9 which is excellent!

This has been quite a journey for her, for us and our loved ones. The uncertainty of what can happen, that “What if”…. Well, today I want to say “EVEN IF…” we know our faith and trust is in our Creator. He will continue to guide us along this very exhausting journey. All Glory to God!

This image is from the CT scan that was done last week Wednesday and I’ve marked the tumor sites in red to show how significantly smaller it is and that it has calcified. We’ll only know for sure what we still need to deal with once the MIBG scan can be done. The MIBG is a contrast that is injected which only the active cancer cells will absorb to show any active cancer.

In the top circle, it shows the position of the tumor on both sides, encasing the aorta which makes it impossible to operate and remove the tumor hence she is in “partial remission”.

The kidneys, lungs and liver is still very healthy.

Guys, this is a miracle! One that many people probably didn’t see coming…. We’ll continue to believe & pray that Mia-Lee will soon be completely disease free and that she’ll be able to live a “semi-normal”, happy & long life to come.

Our journey is still far from over and anything can happen at any given moment. The moment, now… embrace it, enjoy it & share it with the people you love most because this moment, now… can change in the blink of an eye.

Thank you so much to every person that is supporting Mia-Lee’s journey with cancer & been praying for her healing. Please continue to do so. THANK YOU!”

Follow Mia-Lee AKA Warrior Princess on Facebook for live updates on her progress and journey.

Please consider a donation; any and all donations welcome. REF: Mia-Lee Lamprecht.

Fundraising for Mia-Lee Lamprecht

God`s Warrior Princess Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC

God`s Warrior Princess Bracelets

The “God`s Warrior Princess” Bracelets for Mia-Lee consist of white wooden beads with silver and diamante fillers.

Bracelet options:
1) Silver beads – no charm.
2) White and silver beads with pink and silver crystals – no charm.
3) White and silver beads with crystals incl. M, shield and dagger charms.
4) White beads with pink and silver crystals incl. Dream, Love and Joy charms.

To place an order, contact the agent in your area or shop online.

God`s Warrior Princess Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
God`s Warrior Princess Bracelets

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Rest in Peace, Alexis Rhoode – 01/04/2020

in memorium - arms of mercy npc

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that our warrior, Alexis Rhoode, grew her angel wings this morning after an ongoing battle against Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma Cancer.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. No one knows what life will bring, no one knows what tomorrow holds. We try to live the best we can, we try to take care of ourselves, and we try to make our journey of life the safest one possible. But – no matter how good, how healthy, how safe we try to be, we can’t hide from the inevitable fact that we are not immortal.

It is times like this when words are difficult, that I wish I could send the family a blank message, knowing that they will feel the heart that has sent the message.

Alexis` family, here is my figurative blank canvas. Here is my blank message to you, one I am not able to put into the right words, but one I know you will be able to feel. One parent to another:

I FEEL
May God give your family all the strength during this time and the days ahead… and loving memories of Alexis, to forever hold in your hearts.

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Fundraising for Jaydene Prins – Stage III Neuroblastoma Cancer

Jaydene Prins – Stage III Neuroblastoma Cancer

Jaydene`s story:

Jaydene Prins (5 yr.) from Upington, discovered a mass on the right side of her tummy in November 2019. She was taken to the Clinic where antibiotics were prescribed and an ointment to put on the mass, as they asked Jaydene what happened and she said that she fell.

The mass did not disappear and after a week had passed, Mom and dad, Nadine and Quinton Prins, decided to take her to Dr. Harry Surtie Hospital in Upington. After examination she was immediately admitted where they did a CT scan to see what’s wrong. Roughly a week later, Docter Wenzel, also Pediatrician of the Hospital, shared the results which confirmed a mass on her right side, and that he is 99% sure that it’s Cancer. Jaydene was referred to an Oncologist in Kimberley to confirm the diagnosis.

At Kimberley Robert Sibukwe Hospital, Dr. Liezel Du Plesiss, admitted Jaydene for more tests and scans. She was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor – a type of childhood cancer that starts in the kidneys. It is the most common type of kidney cancer in children. She had to prepare for 6 weeks of Chemotherapy as the mass was very big and needed to shrink before she could have surgery and radiation in Bloemfontein.

Current status

Jaydene is currently in Bloemfontein Universitas Hospital for radiation and Chemoterapy. After surgery they saw that she is a Stage III Neuroblastoma patient and discovered little spots of cancer cells in her body.

Nadine is not in a position to work at the moment because she is 7 months pregnant and she can not support or help her child financially. Her father is workingworks in a Top Gear sport shop, but had to take leave to assist in Bloemfontein and to be with Jaydene in hospital.

Jaydene has two younger siblings who also need attention. The family resides in a squatter camp house but had to leave from there. They currently live with in-laws. They do not have medical aid and need help to cover the extra medication after operation, special treatment and private doctors, her daily needs after operation/food, and transport money for checkups after she has recovered from her operation.

Jaydene turned 6 years old on the 14th of March 2020. Together we can make a positive difference in this little girl`s life. Please support our bracelet initiative to raise funds for Jaydene`s ongoing medical care and expenses. Together we can change her world, one bracelet at a time!

Alternatively, please consider a donation; any and all donations welcome. REF: Jaydene Prins.

Fundraising for Jaydene Prins

Frozen Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC

Frozen Bracelets

Frozen Bracelets for Jaydene; consisting of lilac and silver wooden beads with crystals – and a Snowflake, Diamanté Musical Note, or Dragonfly charm.

To place an order, contact the agent in your area or shop online.

Frozen Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Frozen Bracelets

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Fundraising for Mila Koekemoer – Stage III Neuroblastoma Cancer

Mila’s story:

Mila Koekemoer (9 yr.) from Brackenfell in Cape Town, has been diagnosed with cancer on the 2nd of January 2020.

While Mila and mom, Michelle, were away on holiday, she started complaining about tummy cramps. On 29 December 2019, Michelle took her for X-rays, which appeared to only be a blockage, and Mila was given medication to treat that. A Dr in Cape Town then saw a little mark right at the top of the X-ray and requested for her to have another X-ray done, but higher up, including the tummy and chest area. What seemed like an “air bubble” around her lung area was actually a mass without a name.

She was immediately referred to Tygerberg Hospital`s Oncology Department as they have one of the best facilities for treatment there. Two Biopsies were taken at Tygerberg Hospital from both her hips to get bone marrow on 2 January, along with blood tests. Still they couldn’t identify the exact cancer or the stage. Mila then underwent more surgery on 3 January 2020 at the Vincent Palotti hospital so they can get a larger chunk from the biopsy, and a port was inserted in her right upper-chest area for future chemo treatment.

On the 15th of January, after loads more tests, it was established that Mila has Neuroblastoma Cancer. The next day, Mila and Michelle spent the whole day at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital to do bone scans, to see if the cancer has spread. Thankfully it did not show in her bones, so it hasn’t spread.

Mila went for her first chemo on 17/01/2020; and had a severe allergic reaction to the first of 3 chemo drips. As soon as the first drop entered her body she turned red, got a rush and loads of bumps under her skin, and could not breathe. She then received a double dose of the antidote to start her breathing again.

The alternative chemo drip is not in stock anywhere in South Africa, and has to be sourced and imported. Together we can give her a fighting chance and change her world, one bracelet at a time!

Update 30 June 2020: It’s going well with Mila. She is almost finished with her course of chemo, and they are planning the next step of treatment for her. She is such a warrior; fighting this enormous cancer battle with so much courage and a smile. Please pray with us for Mila and her family, for the next step of their journey.

21 July 2020 ~ Mila rang the bell!

We are so thankful for this moment, our little Mila got to rang the BELL after her last chemo session. The road ahead is still long, as they are awaiting the next step of planning the stem-cell procedures and radiation thereafter. But overall, Mila is being brave as always and doing well. We are with you every step of the way Mila, and our army of prayer warriors are praying with you.

Fundraising for Mila Koekemoer

Let Love Grow Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC

Let Love Grow Bracelets

The Let Love Grow Ladies Bracelets for Mila consist of black or turquoise wooden beads with a Tree of Life-Heart charm – and the Men`s Bracelet consists of black wooden beads with infinity charm.

To place an order, contact the agent in your area or shop online.
Alternatively, please consider a donation; any and all donations welcome. REF: Mila Koekemoer.

Let Love Grow Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Let Love Grow Bracelets – Ladies

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Let Love Grow Men`s Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Let Love Grow Bracelets – Men`s

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Fundraising for Keanu Moore – Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma Cancer

Keanu Moore

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.

Please consider making a donation. All donations welcome. REF: Keanu Moore.

Fundraising for Keanu Moore

Beautiful Blue Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC

Beautiful Blue Bracelets

Beautiful Blue Bracelets for Keanu; consisting of blue wooden beads with silver and diamante fillers.

Charm options: Believe / Starfish / Dolphin.

Beautiful Blue Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Beautiful Blue Bracelets

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Neuroblastoma Cancer Awareness

Neuroblastoma Cancer Awareness Bracelets for Keanu; consisting of gold & dark purple wooden beads with silver and diamante fillers.

Charm options: Angel / Awareness ribbon / Tree of life / Made-with-love Heart.

Neuroblastoma Cancer Awareness Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Neuroblastoma Cancer Awareness Bracelets

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Neuroblastoma Cancer in Children – Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Neuroblastoma Cancer in Children - Arms of Mercy NPC

A brief introduction to Neuroblastoma Cancer in Children, what signs and symptoms to look out for and various treatment options. This post is purely for general information purposes and by no means replace the advice of a medical practitioner. For an in-depth explanation please see Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) Fact Sheet on Childhood Neuroblastoma.

WHAT IS NEUROBLASTOMA?

Neuroblasts are immature nerve cells found in unborn babies. Normal neuroblasts mature into nerve cells or adrenal medulla cells (cells found in the centre of the adrenal gland). A neuroblast that does not mature properly can continue to grow, which leads to Neuroblastoma. However, babies are sometimes born with small clusters of neuroblasts that eventually mature into nerve cells and do not become cancer.

Neuroblastoma develops most often in infants and children younger than 5, and is more common in males. It can form before the baby is born and can sometimes be found during a prenatal ultrasound. however, Neuroblastoma is most often found after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes, liver, lungs, bones, and bone marrow.

It is often discovered when a parent or doctor feels an unusual mass or lump somewhere in the body of a young child’s body. These appear most often in the abdomen, though tumours can also appear in other places, like the pelvis, neck and chest area.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF NEUROBLASTOMA IN CHILDREN

The effects of Neuroblastoma can vary widely depending on where the disease first started and how much it has spread to other parts of the body.

The first symptoms are often vague and may include irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite, and fever. But because these early warning signs can develop gradually and mimic those of other common childhood illnesses, Neuroblastoma can be difficult to diagnose.

Most Common Signs of Neuroblastoma

  • a swollen stomach, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite (if the tumour is in the
    abdomen)
  • bone pain or soreness, black eyes, bruises, and pale skin (if the cancer has spread
    to the bones)
  • weakness, numbness, inability to move a body part, or difficulty walking (if the cancer
    presses on the spinal cord)
  • drooping eyelid, unequal pupils, sweating, and red skin, which are signs of nerve
    damage in the neck known as Horner’s syndrome

The most common signs of Neuroblastoma are caused by the tumour pressing on nearby tissues as it grows or by the cancer spreading to other areas. These signs vary depending on how much the cancer has grown and where it has spread.

STAGING

Staging is a way to describe a cancer; like location, if or where it has spread to, and whether it affects other parts of the body. There are two staging systems for Neuroblastoma:

The International Neuroblastoma Staging System Committee (INSS)

Stage 1: The tumour can be removed completely during surgery. Lymph nodes removed during surgery may or may not contain cancer, but other lymph nodes near the tumour do not.

Stage 2A: The tumour is located only in the area it started and cannot be completely removed during surgery. Nearby lymph nodes do not contain cancer.

Stage 2B: The tumour is located only in the area where it started and may or may not be completely removed during surgery. Nearby lymph nodes contain cancer.

Stage 3: The tumour cannot be removed with surgery. It has spread to regional lymph nodes (lymph nodes near the tumour) or other areas near the tumour, but not to other parts of the body.

Stage 4: The original tumour has spread to distant lymph nodes (lymph nodes in other parts of the body), bones, bone marrow, liver, skin, and/or other organs (except for those listed in stage 4S, below).

Stage 4S: The original tumour is located only where it started (as in stage 1, 2A, or 2B), and it has spread only to the skin, liver, and/or bone marrow (in infants younger than one). The spread to the bone marrow is minimal (usually less than 10% of cells examined show cancer).

The International Neuroblastoma Risk Group Staging System (INRGSS)

The INRGSS was recently designed specifically for the newly developed International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) pre-treatment classification system. The INRGSS only uses the results of imaging tests taken before surgery and does not include surgical results or spread to lymph nodes to determine the stage.

Stage L1: The tumour is located only in the area where it started; no risk factors found on imaging scans, such as CT or MRI.

Stage L2: The tumour has not spread beyond the area where it started and the nearby tissue; risk factors are found on imaging scans, such as CT or MRI.

Stage M: The tumour has spread to other parts of the body (except stage MS, see below).

Stage MS: The tumour only has spread to the skin, liver, and/or bone marrow.

Shown is a microscopic view of a typical neuroblastoma with rosette formation. Magnified x40. Source: Dr. Maria Tsokos, National Cancer Institute – Wikipedia.

TREATMENT

Treatment of Neuroblastoma depend on the child`s age, the tumour`s size and position, the tumour biology (including the MYCN status) and whether the Neuroblastoma has spread.

Surgery

For tumours that have not spread (localised tumours), the treatment is usually surgery. If the tumour is at an early stage and there’s no evidence that it has spread to the lymph nodes or any other parts of the body, an operation to remove the tumour, or as much of it as possible, will be done.

A cure is usually possible for children with localised tumours. However, if the tumour is classed as high-risk due to the tumour biology results, further treatment with chemotherapy and possibly radiotherapy will be needed. If the tumour is, at first, too large or in too difficult a position to remove safely, chemotherapy will be given to shrink it before surgery.

Chemotherapy

If the tumour has already spread by the time of diagnosis, or is indicated as being high-risk by the tumour biology result, intensive chemotherapy is needed. Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It’s usually given as a drip or injection into a vein. Your child’s specialist will discuss with you the type and amount of chemotherapy needed.

High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support

If the Neuroblastoma has spread to several parts of the body, or is high-risk with MYCN amplification, high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell support is used after the initial courses of chemotherapy. High doses of chemotherapy wipe out any remaining Neuroblastoma cells, but they also wipe out the body’s bone marrow, where blood cells are made.

To prevent the problems this causes, stem cells (blood cells at their earliest stages of development) are collected from your child through a drip before the chemotherapy is given. These stem cells are then frozen and stored. After the chemotherapy, the stem cells are given back to your child through a drip. They make their way into the bone marrow, where they grow and develop into mature blood cells over a period of 14-21 days.,

Monoclonal antibody treatment

Monoclonal antibodies can destroy some types of cancer cells while causing little harm to normal cells. A new monoclonal antibody treatment called anti-GD2 is currently being tested in people with high-risk Neuroblastoma.

Children in the UK with high-risk Neuroblastoma are being given anti-GD2 as part of a clinical trial. There is good evidence from a clinical trial carried out in America in 2009 that this may be a promising therapy when given alongside other standard treatment for Neuroblastoma. It is not yet a standard treatment though, due to the very unpleasant side effects.

Radiotherapy

External radiotherapy may be given if the Neuroblastoma is high-risk, or has spread to several parts of the body. This uses high-energy rays to destroy the cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells. External radiotherapy is given from a machine outside the body. Internal radiotherapy may sometimes be given using radioactive MIBG. Radioactive MIBG is similar to the MIBG used in an investigation to diagnose a Neuroblastoma, but uses higher doses of radioactivity to kill the cancer cells.

Immunotherapy

The immune system is made up of white blood cells and the organs and tissues of the lymph system, like bone marrow. Its main job is to help the body fight off disease and stay healthy. Immunotherapy drugs help your immune system work harder or make it easier for it to find and get rid of cancer cells. Some cancers don’t respond well to radiation or chemotherapy, but start to go away after Immunotherapy.

Benefits of Immunotherapy: It can help other cancer treatments work better, causes fewer side effects than other treatments, and the cancer may be less likely to return. When you have Immunotherapy, the immune system learns to go after cancer cells if they ever come back, and could help you to stay cancer-free for a longer time.

It isn’t a quick fix. In some cases, Immunotherapy takes longer to work than other treatments, the cancer may not go away quickly, and it also doesn’t work for everyone. Over time, Immunotherapy may stop having an effect on the cancer cells – even if it works at first, the tumor could start growing again. – Pros and Cons of Immunotherapy.

Younger children

Children under 18 months old with Neuroblastoma often have low-risk tumours, and as long as there is no MYCN amplification, their outlook is good. Most children in this age group are cured. Children with stage 4S disease almost always get better with very little treatment or none at all. These tumours either regress spontaneously or after chemotherapy, which is only given if the tumour is causing symptoms. They disappear completely or develop into a noncancerous (benign) tumour, called a ganglioneuroma.

Many of these children, after their initial diagnostic tests and staging investigations, will just need careful monitoring for some years. Ganglioneuromas are usually harmless and will not cause any problems or need any treatment.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, CANSA Fact Sheet on Childhood Neuroblastoma, WebMD Medical Reference, Cancer.Net’s Guide to Neuroblastoma – Childhood.

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Fundraising for Janique Venter – Neuroblastoma Cancer

Janique Venter

Janique`s story:

Janique Venter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Cancer at the very young age of 6 months.

A short while after Janique’s 14-week injection she broke out in small little bumps on her chin. By the next morning, her whole body was covered, and she was taken to the doctor who then proceeded to put her on treatment for Measles for a week.

The following week a bump was discovered on the right side of her neck, just under the ear. It was small, round and hard, and so she was back at the doctor again the next day. This time he said it`s Mumps, but the bump grew bigger. Sometimes it moved up and down, and also grew larger and smaller at times. Janique was on treatment and medication for longer than 2 months, yet, the “mumps” just wouldn`t go away. This was the point where it was decided that she should see a Pediatrician as she was simply not getting healthier.

The Pediatrician did a check-up on Janique, but she also didn`t know what it is, or what caused it. She drew some blood from the other side of her neck, and also prescribed a course of medication to treat the bronchitis that Janique had at the time.

She referred them to Rosepark the following day for X-Rays, a Sonar, and more blood tests. The results came back, but they couldn`t see clearly on the X-rays or the Sonar. They were then referred to a Chirurg at Universitas` Netcare. It was suggested that Janique go for a biopsy, but the biopsy was postponed with a week due to her Bronchitis.

The real turning point came one morning during nappy change. Janique turned blue, her body turned stiff, and her eyes were rolling back in her head. She received prompt CPR at home and snapped back to consciousness. The reason why she stopped breathing was due to the bump that`s pushing against her windpipe.

Little Janique finally went for the Biopsy, but was referred to the Cancer department as they still did not know 100% what was the matter. More X-rays, Sonar and blood tests followed the next day… after that, it was the CT scan that showed Neuroblastoma Cancer. The doctors wanted to operate immediately, but according to the CT Scan, the bump was too large and causing too much pressure against the air-pipe. They did not want to take chances.

Update 17/02/2022: To date, none of the chemotherapy treatments available have been effective. Unfortunately surgery has never been an option, as the placement of the tumor makes removing it a life-threatening operation. With the continuing growth of the tumor her health has been rapidly deteriorating, and there’s absolutely no treatment plan available in SA to help Janique. Burzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas, is her very last option where gene targeted therapy is used through antineoplastons to treat neuroblastoma with highly promising results.

Janique is waiting for more than 1 year to raise the necessary funds to give her a chance on life. Yes, we need ALL your prayers, miracles still happen, however we CANNOT sit back and wait for a miracle to happen!!! No, we need to take action and HELP JANIQUE to get the very last option treatment which she requires for survival. To our AOM Supporters & Donors: We need your help more than ever before. If you are able to help with a fundraising event, please get in touch with me, Karin Harmse on 076 463 0821 or send an email to admin@armsofmercy.org.za. TIME IS RUNNING OUT and we need R700 000. Please Please Please, share this far and wide so we can reach as many people as possible.

Like Help and prayers for Princess Janique on Facebook for live updates on her progress and journey.

Fundraising for Janique Venter

The bracelets listed below are all made specially for Janique to help raise funds – all proceeds are donated towards her medical care and expenses. To place an order, contact the agent in your area or shop online. Alternatively, please consider making a donation. Any and all donations welcome. REF: Janique Venter.

God's Princess Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC

God’s Princess Bracelets; consisting of black wooden beads with crystal, silver and diamante fillers – and a Diamanté Heart charm or a plain bracelet.

God's Princess Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
God’s Princess Bracelets

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Blissful Bracelets; consisting of light grey, white and mint green wooden beads, silver and diamante filler – with a cross, I love God, or musical note charm.

Blissful Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Blissful Bracelets

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Picture Perfect Bracelets; consisting of white & silver wooden and crystal beads – with a Glitter ball or Diamante Butterfly charm. *Limited Edition.

Picture Perfect Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Picture Perfect Bracelets

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Fundraising for Kyra Burger – Stage IV Neuroblastoma Cancer

Kyra Burger

Kyra`s story:

Kyra Burger was born on 15 August 2017, a healthy little baby. She went to daycare for the first time in January 2018; and on the following day her tummy started to work constantly. A Pediatrician was contacted for advice who suspected a case of diarrhea, and so an appointment was scheduled for the next day. During consultation he layed her down flat on her back and pressed on her stomach when he felt her liver was enlarged.

A Sonar, X-rays, and blood tests followed which gave the family hope for any positive news, but sadly Kyra was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma Cancer on the 15th of January 2018.

On 18 July 2018 she had her 8th and last chemotherapy session after eight long weeks.

Kyra and family made their way to Grootte Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 1 July 2020, to start her bone-marrow process.

Kyra started Gr. RR on 11 January 2022 and she absolutely loves it, her school, her teacher and all her friends She also started at a dance school, she loves to “wiggle” her little body.

Update 23 April 2022: “Good news, Kyra’s cancer count looks very good and normal so the spot in her lung is most probably an infection which would explain her being sick now, thank you Lord. Dr Sholler in America said it’s too small to be a tumour and also to do a biopsy.

We were suppose to be in America on 28 April but unfortunately due to the flights being very very expensive, I can’t believe how the prices have literally doubled since our last visit in November, we have to reschedule to a week later and will be flying to America on 3 May for her treatment, the tickets are a bit cheaper, not a lot, but every little helps. If anyone would like to make a donation you can do so directly into her fundraising bank account or her back a buddy account. But most importantly keep on praying for our little princess, that God healed her for the rest of her life and also that God will take away cancer, this is a horrible monster disease and no one deserves to go through this.”

By supporting our fundraiser for Kyra you can be directly involved in making a positive difference in her life. All proceeds from the “Everlasting Joy” and the “Endless Love” bracelets are donated towards her ongoing medical care and expenses that are not covered by medical aid.

To place an ordercontact the agent in your area or shop online.

Alternatively, please consider a donation. Any and all donations welcome. REF: Kyra Burger.

Like Kyra`s Facebook page to follow her journey and for live updates.

Fundraising for Kyra Burger

Endless Love Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC

Everlasting Joy Bracelets

Everlasting Joy Bracelets for Kyra; consisting of turquoise and purple wooden beads with crystal, silver and diamante fillers.

Charm options: Amethyst flower / Heart with cross / Joy.

Everlasting Joy Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Everlasting Joy Bracelets

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Endless Love Bracelets

Limited Edition, Endless Love Bracelets for Kyra; consisting of dusty-pink & silver wooden beads with crystal, silver and diamante fillers.

Charm options: Diamante-Ball / Diamante-Flower charm.

Endless Love Bracelets © Arms of Mercy NPC
Endless Love Bracelets

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