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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jamie Inglis - The Story So Far

Jamie (age 4) was diagnosed with an abdominal tumor on Apr 1st as he had suddenly become unwell in nursery. I was in the UK on an inspection in Catterick. He had no obvious symptoms of any illness before other that low level symptom. My wife called me and within 4 hours the Army Compassionate cell had arranged flights to Dusseldorf Uni Klinic. After several days they diagnosed Neuroblastoma stage 4 and found out that it was MYCN amplified (aggressive form) the cancer had infiltrated the bone marrow as well. His prognosis was given to be 20-30% survival so we were devastated. The MIGB scan revealed that it had spread from his kidney into the femurs of both legs and around the orbital in his eye and some of the lymph nodes.

He started chemo after all the tests for high risk Neuroblastoma. He was very sick at first and we were in hospital for 7 weeks without break. The tumor was so big that it started to affect his breathing and he would not eat or drink or hardly move in his bed. After a month or so he started to improve a little and gain some mobility with physio. After several blocks of chemo he started to respond well to the treatment. After block 6 he became very ill and developed pneumonia and he suffered a sepsis which required ventilation on an ICU for two weeks. For 24 hours his situation was very critical and we were very close to losing him but he managed to pull through. Two weeks after this incident he received his Op to remove the affected kidney and tumor which was carried out successfully however there are still residual tumor cells remaining. He has now had 7 of 8 blocks of chemo and will then receive high dose to complete his treatment.

During his treatment I was posted from Herford to Monchengladbach were my wife works as a teacher at JHQ in Rhine Military Complex so we could be together as a family and also in closer proximity to where Jamie was receiving his treatment in Dusseldorf. The army welfare, local community and friends have been very supportive and the military health service (British Forces Germany Health Service) has helped us right from the outset. The hospital facilities and staff are also fantastic. I have been given time off work since April to look after Jamie as we had a baby girl in Jul and my wife (Vicky) could not possibly manage both. I would have probably deployed to Afghanistan had my son not been ill.

Even though Jamie has responded well to the initial treatment the chances of his cancer relapsing over the next year is very high (40% of cases). The relapse is normally caused by microscopic cells which have survived the chemo and is referred to as minimal residual disease (MRD). Unfortunately when the children relapse the prognosis for survival is reduced significantly and the chance of a cure is very small. A recent antibody trial in the States has been very successful as it targets the MRD and improves the chances of survival by 20%. This treatment may well become a standard regime in the future, however, Jamie does not have time as he will require this treatment within 90 days of completing his high dose which he is due to complete by Feb 2010.

A potential life saving treatment is available at the Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Centre in New York – this treatment however, doesn’t come cheap. We need to raise US$500,000 before Jamie can be given the potentially life-saving therapy.

Please help our son and Poppy's big brother, Jamie.