PARMA — Eleven-year-old Gage Driskell of Parma arrived in Denver on Thursday for what he hopes will be a successful treatment for the brain tumors he has battled.
Gage has recurrent medulloblastoma, an illness that doesn’t have a known good treatment, his father Jacob Driskell said on the phone from the Ronald McDonald House, where they are staying. He was first diagnosed in March 2011 and went through 15 months of standard treatment. His tumors went into remission for three months before they came back, and he received his second official diagnosis in October 2012.
But the study drugs he is receiving in Denver have given Gage and his family hope, Jacob said.
Gage will receive a combination of two drugs on a 21-day cycle.
Gage receives the drugs for five days straight, then waits for 16 days to start all over again, his father said.
Gage will have to fly to Denver once a week for the next year to receive the treatments. Even if all their flights are covered, the minimum costs for everything else is $10,000, Jacob said. That includes hotel costs if the Ronald McDonald House is full.
“The Ronald McDonald House down here is great, but they run full quite a bit,” he said.
But a 9-year-old Meridian girl has come up with a way to help pay for Gage to get the treatments he needs. Angelyn Wade learned about Gage from another young cancer patient she helped before. Through a pledge-per-inch fundraiser, Wade cut off her long blonde hair and raised more than $6,000 to help Lilyan King, 4, of Boise, and her family when King was fighting cancer.
Now Wade is organizing a carnival in Parma to raise money for Gage and his family. The carnival will be held Aug. 17 at Parma Middle School.
“I thought it was just amazing,” Jacob said of the carnival. “We’ve met her and she is just the sweetest little darling in the world with the biggest heart you will ever find in a child.”
Jacob said they have already received a “tremendous” amount of donations for silent auction items and carnival booths.
“I think it’s going to be a really great fundraiser,” he said.
A donation fund has also been set up for Gage at Wells Fargo Bank.