Ever since he was born, Rosalie Adoncello knew her son Jullian was a fighter. He proved this to be true when at the age of three fate decided to test them and he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. The disease forms around nerve tissue and attacks the glands, causing pain and swelling.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 800 new cases are found each year. It’s the most common form of infant malignancy, accounting for 6% of all childhood cancers. With five-year survival rates going as low as 50%, the family fell in a state of shock, yet stayed hopeful.
With time being so sensitive, doctors decided to adopt an intensive program. Eight rounds of chemotherapy, twelve rounds of radiotherapy, surgery to remove tumors and his stem cells, and then a bone marrow transplant, all within a two-year span.
This sort of treatment can be particularly hard on an adult, not to mention a child, but Jullian kept on fighting, day by day.
Recently, the Adoncello family celebrated 10 years of remission. The young boy doesn’t remember much, just flashes, like how the treatment used to tickle when he was receiving it through a tube in his nose. His mother is more emotional when recounting those moments. Seeing him on the hospital bed, surrounded by machines and IVs, will always remain in her mind.
The battle left some deep scars, as is with most other survivors. He will need a few surgeries for teeth implants as his own will not grow anymore. He also has hearing problems and joint pain that could develop into arthritis. It makes playing soccer, his favorite thing in the world, painful.
Children’s Medical Research Institute, the hospital where Jullian was treated, is trying to offer a brighter future for kids having similar problems, with a new research facility called ProCan. The state of the art center has access to PCT-SWATH mass spectrometry, which can rapidly analyze samples, and also provides a database which doctors can use to effectively narrow down the best type of currently available treatment to target a cancer patient’s individual diagnosis.