URGENT! We’re fighting for Franek’s life. Brain tumor, a terrible prognosis, little time… however, our hope won’t be quenched! His parents ask for your help.
Last Christmas, that’s when I noticed a grimace on my son’s face. Delicate, it appeared only when he cried or smiled. After two weeks, we were already at the emergency unit. We weren’t sure whether something was truly wrong, yet we felt something change, something that wouldn’t leave us in peace. The doctors had their doubts as to whether they saw that grimace, yet they decide to accept us, fortunately. The first diagnosis - paralysis of the facial nerve: a complication, arising from a cold. Just to make sure, we were kept for a detailed diagnosis.
After only a week, we knew that it was something much more serious…
The results of the MRI knocked us off our feet… Franek, our 5 year-old son, has a tumor in his brain, a glial-derived change in the brainstem! The worst diagnosis in the worst place that the tumor could’ve settled. In one moment our world had turned upside down, everything happening so quickly: an ambulance to The Children’s Memorial Health Institute, a tragic prognosis, chemotherapy, 6-week radiotherapy, a desperate search for treatment abroad… In one moment, the safety of our world changed into an oncological hell, in which young, innocent patients became contestants in the ring, fighting with death. It isn’t a fair fight…
We met the parents of other children, who - like Franek - are fighting for each and every day. A brain tumor doesn’t wait, doesn’t have mercy to give a moment rest. Unfortunately, it turns out that there isn’t much doctors in Poland can do. We’re also finding out that current medicine does not yet have an effective treatment for this disease. Around the world, there exist only experimental therapies, giving better or worse results.
However, we knew from the start that we would do everything to ensure our son has the biggest chance to use the opportunities he still has. While there’s time…
At first, Franek was diagnosed on the basis of just one MRI scan. We decided on a biopsy of the tumor, so as to verify the diagnosis. In Poland, this was impossible - the doctors said that Franek wouldn’t survive the biopsy; and even if he did, he would be paralyzed. So we traveled to Zurich, which was possible thanks to many kind-hearted people! At the end of April, Franek went on the operating table, and we waited for the results with a trembling heart. The results allowed us to direct the treatment in the right direction… it turned out that there exist promising experimental treatments, which give us hope. Unfortunately, most of them are located in the USA.
All the time, we consult our son’s incident with the best specialists in the world, searching, incessant in the fervor of battle. This gives us strength to get up each day and believe that hope is not lost. We know already that our son’s treatment will be horrendously expensive. We’re still waiting currently for the final decision, the specifics. Today, the doctors are administering the non-refundable drug ONC 201, which will temporarily stop the tumor.
We’re asking for help in collecting the means for this drug, while being aware that it’s only the beginning of the battle.
Only recently, we were an ordinary, loving family. We have a 7 year-old daughter, Tosia, who is also suffering hugely because of her little brother’s disease… however, all of us believe that this nightmare will one day be over and that our beloved Franek will remain with us. It can’t be any other way…
The tumor is inoperable. We are still in shock, for nothing foretold this tragedy. Franek was once a healthy, happy boy. We have to act fast, for the prognoses are bad… we’re asking for your help.
We thank you, with all of our hearts, for every donation towards saving our boy’s life.
Anna & Mateusz Popek, with family.