This is probably 5-year old Noah Biorkman’s last Christmas. Unfortunately, despite the recent advances in medical care, he is losing his battle to cancer. Noah has stage IV neuroblastoma cancer.
Neuroblastoma is defined as
“… a form of cancer, found primarily in children, that attacks the developing nerve cells. In Neuroblastoma, cancerous tumors form from cells called neural crest cells. These cells are similar to those found in the developing nervous systems of an embryo or a fetus.
The human body has two glands known as adrenal glands, one above each kidney. These glands are triangular in shape and are responsible for secreting hormones that control the body’s involuntary responses such as blood pressure and heart rate. Neuroblastoma can start in the bundle of nerves in the adrenals, as well as in the nerve groups in other parts of the body responsible for the body’s involuntary responses.
There are two types of tumors that can be found in these nerve tissues. The first is GanglioNeuroblastoma, which consists of the cancerous nerve tissue mentioned above. These are the tumors of Neuroblastoma. The second is a tumor that resembles Neuroblastoma, but consists of mature nerve cells. These tumors are referred to as Ganglioneuromas and are not cancer. (Source: Rhode Island Cancer Council, Inc)
Some statistics about neuroblastoma:
- Occurs almost always in children,
- 500 to 1000 cases each year, 90% of cases diagnosed in under 6-year olds
- Accounts of 7% of all childhood cancers diagnosed
- Slightly more cases in boys than in girls.
- Survival rates are higher in children under 1 than those who are older.
Noah has been fighting this terrible for 2 and a half years. He was first diagnosed in February 2007 and went into remission in August of the same year. Unfortunately, the boy suffered a relapse in September 2008. Despite all the efforts to stop the disease, Noah’s cancer continues to spread.
If wishes could always come true, I’m pretty sure we all have the same wish for Noah – that he will enjoy more Christmases to come. However, the way things look at the moment, the best we can do is help fulfill Noah’s last wish – lots and lots of Christmas Cards.
Now, before you skeptically turn away, I have to tell you that this story has been confirmed by no other than Snopes.com, the site that confirms whether is rumor is true or not. To learn more about Noah’s and his condition, check out his mom’s blog at CarePages.
Noah and his family will celebrate Christmas earlier this year. It would be great if we can fill this boy’s last Christmas with love and support.
You can send your Christmas cards to the following addresses:
1141 Fountain View Circle
South Lyon, MI, 48178
c/o Scott Biorkman
3480 Petoskey Way
Milford, MI 48380
Or send it to the local radio station
c/o 99.5 WYCD
2201 Woodward Heights Blvd.
Ferndale, MI 48220-1511
Photo credit: stock.xchng