Neuroblastoma Affects Local Child
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - Tinya Cephas-Elliott has been a member of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore family for over seven years, now. Her desk has been empty since December 2007 when her son, Isaiah James Elliott, was diagnosed with Stage Three Neuroblastoma Cancer.
September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. It is the one month every year people are reminded or informed that for every school day, 46 children, the equivalent of two full classrooms, are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. That adds up to 12,500 children a year. As the faculty, staff and students of UMES observe Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, they are reminded that at least one staff member s child is battling cancer.
Affectionately known as Bud, Isaiah was born September 12, 2003. A seemingly vibrant and healthy child, he lived the first four years of his life without incident until November 2007 when he began struggling with stomach pain and fever. After several visits to the pediatrician, Isaiah was taken to the emergency room at Dorchester General Hospital, where a large tumor was discovered. He was immediately transported to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore where he was later diagnosed.
Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system, which is a network of nerves that carries messages from the brain to all parts of the body. It usually starts in one of the adrenal glands which sits on top of each kidney, but this solid, malignant tumor can manifest as a lump or mass in the abdomen or around the spinal cord in the chest, neck or pelvis. It is often present at birth, but is most often diagnosed much later when the child begins to show symptoms of the disease. In the U.S., Neuroblastoma affects approximately 700 infants and young children each year. Medical science has progressed so that once diagnosed, the child is scheduled for surgery and then follows a prescribed form of treatment that may include chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow and/or stem cell transplantation. Isaiah s tumor required five rounds of chemotherapy to shrink it in size before the surgeons could remove it, and then two more rounds after surgery before his doctor could start the bone marrow transplant and radiation process.
Along with the physical and mental strain of dealing with such a medical ordeal, the Elliott family has been enduring many financial challenges, with many more ahead. As a result of the many days Isaiah has had to spend in the hospital and because of his current treatment, which does not allow him to be more than 20 minutes from the hospital, a second home for his family has been established between the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
An Isaiah Elliott Cancer Fund has been established for the family to assist with their many non-reimbursable medical- and travel-related expenses. To donate, please make all checks payable to the Isaiah Elliott Cancer Fund, P. O. Box 1118, Hurlock, MD 21643. To learn more about Isaiah, his family and their road ahead, visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/isaiahelliott.
Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Tinya Cephas Elliott, 410-502-4694, email@example.com.