Clinical Trial Saves Rumson Girl’s Life [SERIES]
In Part III of our week-long series "Winning the War on Cancer" we see how precision medicine helped save a 9-year-old Rumson girl's life.
When Pia Binns daughter Isabella was 3 years old, her behavior started to change. She became agitated, her appetite started to diminish and she started developing random high fevers. Pia noticed bruising on her legs, especially in the shin area. She was taking longer naps than usual and her complexion became very pale. Then, she started noticing purple spots on her elbow and neck.
"People thought it was from the car seat belt, but when I saw one in her mouth on her tongue, I knew something was wrong," said Binns.
Days later, she was so tired, she could barely walk. She wound up in the Pediatric Unit of Monmouth Medical Center where she got the diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
The team of doctors put the family in touch with The Valerie Fund Children's Center at Monmouth Medical Center where Isabella underwent two and a half years of treatment.
A Terrifying Diagnosis
"When we got the initial diagnosis, it was terrifying. They told us she was in very serious condition. I had to sign off on so many different treatments, procedures and medications which, up until that point, had been completely unfamiliar with," said Binns. "I just set myself on automatic and did whatever the doctors told me to do and hoped for the best."
As part of her treatment, Isabella took part in a clinical trial.
"Doctors were trying a new form of treatment which involved different types of medications. The results were amazing. The children in her study group responded very well, so we were grateful we put her in the study. But, it wasn't without concern at first. The doctor explained everything to us, including the risks, benefits and potential side effects. But, what it came down to was taking a chance and putting our faith and trust in the doctors and The Valerie Fund. Luckily, it was the right decision on our part. We were desperate to make sure that she got the best treatment and that in the end, she would get through it," said Binns.
Isabella did get through it.
Now 9 years old, she will celebrate a huge milestone in October when she will be five years cancer free. What she remembers most about her experience at The Valerie Fund is her nurse Beth. "She would take me in to the playroom and give me art things to do. I would do a craft or watch a TV show," said Isabella.
Each year, The Valerie Fund hosts a 5K walk in an effort to raise funds for the continued care for children with cancer and blood disorders. This year's event will take place on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at Verona Park in Verona, New Jersey. There is also an online component for those who want to raise money virtually by running or walking from any participating Retro Fitness location in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit TheValerieFund.org.