Hope has been renewed for a Temecula family whose world was turned upside down in August when 10-year-old Allie Lysiak was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.
Allie—who spent her 11th birthday hospitalized—recently completed her last in a series of 37 proton radiation therapy treatments that had the Lysiaks driving to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital almost daily since December. On Feb. 19, doctors gave Allie a diagnosis of “no evidence of disease,” her mother, Sheri Lysiak reported to Patch as a follow-up to previous articles.
The former Vail Elementary student was diagnosed with a myxoid chondrosarcoma last fall just as she was due to start sixth grade at Margarita Middle School. The cancer typically develops in adults older than 40, according to Mayoclinic.org.
Lysiak said she and her husband are thankful they were offered proton radiation therapy versus chemotherapy, which, based on their research, they felt would have had more side effects.
A spokesperson for Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital could not immediately be reached Monday for comment about the specifics of Allie’s treatment.
The hospital’s website states that more than two decades ago, it was the first in the nation to begin offering the treatment.
In addition to measurable success among prostate cancer patients, proton radiation therapy has been used successfully to treat chondrosarcomas of the base of skull and along the spine in adult patients, according to a Loma Linda University Medical Center Web page that explains the treatment. Once the safety of the treatment had been firmly established in adults, physicians began using protons with increasing frequency in pediatric patients.
“Since LLUMC introduced modern proton treatment for cancer into the mainstream in 1990, there have been countless studies and trials that have shown proton therapy to be the treatment of choice for many types of cancer,” the hospital states in a Feb. 13 news release.
And although Lysiak said Allie was readmitted to the hospital Friday so doctors can monitor an infection, they are still planning to celebrate her completion of proton therapy with a family trip to Disneyland—Allie’s favorite place—March 3 and 4.
“People have been donating so we could go,” Lysiak said.
The community has rallied around the young girl, and for that the Lysiaks expressed gratitude. Vail Ranch Elementary PTA and Pizza Factory in Temecula were among those who hosted benefit events, and a local Super Cuts washed and braided Allie’s hair when she couldn’t shower.
The family put donations they received to good use: gas money for the almost daily trips to Loma Linda as well as toward co-payments not covered by the family's medical insurance, Lysiak said.
Allie is slowly getting back to her normal self after also having to undergo surgeries to her vertebrae because that is where doctors found a mass, Lysiak said. Allie continues to wear a back brace while her body heals from the surgeries and is still receiving her schooling through home visits.
An MRI in March will determine whether Allie can return to school this year, her mother said. Allie must also get monthly blood tests, and regular MRIs will be necessary until she turns 18, Lysiak told Patch.
For now, Allie plans to head straight for her favorite ride at Disneyland: Space Mountain.