At four years old, Maya was full of life—happy playing with her friends, participating in ballet, arts, and sports. Everything changed when they heard these words, “your daughter has cancer.” The diagnosis came after months of nausea, night sweats, and unbearable pain in her leg and lower back. Maya was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastama, a cancer in children that develops from the tissues that form the sympathetic nervous system.
Unfortunately, Maya’s disease was already in stage 4—which meant the cancer had already spread. For months, her family never left her side as she underwent rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and radiation in the hospital. When Maya’s liver began weakening, the doctors decided to stop radiation. She also no longer qualified for immunotherapy, a standard treatment for this type of cancer.
Maya then developed a secondary cancer—chemo-induced Myelodysplastic Syndrome. “At this point, each therapy Maya was receiving was exhausting her body,”
her mom, Indira, recalls emotionally. She was running out of options…and time.
For children with hard-to-cure cancers, PROFYLE
is their best chance for a bright future. PROFYLE (PRecision Oncology For Young peopLE) is a program that works to find treatment options for each individual patient. It identifies targets for therapies for children and adolescents whose cancer is resistant to treatment, has relapsed, or has spread to other parts of the body.
PROFYLE is a lifeline for patients like Maya—the treatments she received through clinical trials in the United States saved her life. But they also caused a lot of damage. Today, Maya lives with chronic conditions—side effects from the medications and procedures she endured. Even with a cure, many kids experience serious health issues later in life. Fortunately, new approaches, such as precision medicine, offer so much hope—for more cures and treatments with fewer side effects.
Your support to Childhood Cancer Canada helps raise vital funds to support precision medicine like PROFYLE so children can access treatment as early as possible. Please give today to help kids like Maya overcome cancer and live longer and healthier lives.