Amidst the COVID isolation and lockdowns in Melbourne last year, our family received the unthinkable news that our sweet baby boy Manoli (Oli) has cancer. Tests revealed it to be stage 4 Neuroblastoma with MYCN amplification.
Neuroblastoma is a very rare form of childhood cancer, with only around 30 cases diagnosed each year in Australia. It is an aggressive cancer that is typically found in children under five and it only has a 50% survival rate.
Oli is currently undergoing a gruelling 18+ months of treatment at the Royal Children’s Hospital, including a fractured femur bone. He has already endured five months of chemotherapy, a 12 hour surgery to remove a 10cm tumour from his stomach, and then an extremely painful stem cell transplant. He has been an inpatient at the Royal Children’s Hospital since 30 December with post surgical complications. He has just completed radiation therapy and still needs to undergo immunotherapy.
At the end of all of this, there is a 50% chance of a reoccurrence. Because there are extremely limited options within Australia to prevent a devastating relapse, we need to travel to the USA where Oli will take part in a potentially lifesaving trial to prevent the Neuroblastoma from returning.
Unfortunately, these vaccines come at a huge cost of around $450,000, plus all of the associated travel expenses