VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (PRWEB) May 19, 2009
In 2007, Susan and Jim Ralston received the news every parent dreads: their 2-year-old son was diagnosed with spinal Ewing's sarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. This heart-breaking report was followed by a discovery from relatives that offered some comfort and hope: a relatively new radiation treatment, proton beam therapy. The Ralstons began a quest for more information and learned proton therapy could help their son improve his odds of beating cancer.
As a result of this first-hand experience and months of research, the Ralstons are launching the Pediatric Proton Foundation. Their mission in founding the Pediatric Proton Foundation is a simple one: to provide education, advocacy, and assistance to families in need of pediatric proton. Said founder Susan Ralston, "I am proud that we will be able to help other families and their children with cancer gain access to proton treatment across the country." The first phase of the Foundation's rollout plan includes a parent-friendly website loaded with everything a parent needs to help determine if proton is an appropriate treatment for their child and then how to quickly get to it. The next phase involves working to raise money to help researchers with pediatric proton studies and also to help families with the huge financial burden that comes with traveling to get proton beam treatment.
There are currently 5 proton centers operating in the United States with 5 others in some stage of development. Hampton University, near Virginia Beach, Virginia is developing a proton center expected to open in August 2010. "Proton beam treatment delivers targeted radiation to the cancerous site and avoids surrounding healthy tissue. This is critically important when treating children with cancer, since they are growing and many tissues are still developing" said Ralston. There are an estimated 13,000 children diagnosed annually in the United States with cancer and half of those cases are some type of bone, soft tissue or organ cancer, which means many of these cases could potentially be treated with proton therapy. "Dealing with cancer is one nightmare, and then dealing with the after effects of the actual cancer treatment is yet another nightmare. Anything we can do to improve cancer survival rates and reduce the after effects from the treatment needs to be pursued. These are America's children - they deserve the best we have to offer here," continued Ralston.
In mid-April, the Foundation was a first-time exhibitor at the "Pediatric Neuro-oncology in the Proton Era" meeting that was sponsored by Massachusetts General Hospital - the site with the world's greatest cumulative experience with pediatric proton neuro-oncology. The Foundation will be an exhibitor at the 51st Annual ASTRO (American Society for Radiation Oncology) meeting at McCormick Place West in Chicago November 1-5, 2009 with over 12,000 attendees expected from all over the world. "We hope that through our active involvement in the pediatric oncology world, we can bring more attention to this treatment option for children and therefore, more supporters to our cause of helping appropriate pediatric cancer cases access proton therapy," said Ralston.
About the Foundation:
The Pediatric Proton Foundation is uniquely positioned as an independent, nonprofit charity that relies on voluntary funding from a variety of sources to be able to provide the most objective information available about pediatric cancer treatment at each proton center in the U.S. The dollars given are used to help support our mission of providing education, advocacy and assistance to families in need of pediatric proton. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. You may be able to deduct some or the entire amount of your donation for tax purposes. Please consult your professional tax advisor.
For more information, visit the Pediatric Proton Foundation's website at: http://www.pediatricprotonfoundation.org.