Boy’s best chance for sur­vival costly

Pro­posed treat­ment to fight leukemia is $800,000


A fam­ily friend of 13-year-old Con­nor McGrath is urg­ing peo­ple to sign an on-line pe­ti­tion she’s set up call­ing on the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments to con­trib­ute fi­nan­cially to treat­ment that could be the boy’s best chance at life.

Con­nor is from this prov­ince but is liv­ing in Ed­mon­ton with his par­ents. His mother Kim (Searle) is from south­east Pla­cen­tia. His father Ger­ald is from St. Bride’s.

Con­nor was di­ag­nosed with leukemia in July 2013.

Af­ter chemo­ther­apy treat­ments, his can­cer went into re­mis­sion. How­ever, he re­lapsed in May 2015.

Ag­gres­sive treat­ment to try and ready Con­nor for a bone mar­row trans­plant failed.

Con­nor’s med­i­cal team feel his best chance is to be trans­ferred to the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal of Philadel­phia for chimeric anti­gen re­cep­tor (CAR) T-cell ther­apy. The treat­ment tar­gets chil­dren, like Con­nor, who have re­lapsed and are not re­spond­ing to con­ven­tional ther­apy.

The treat­ment is es­ti­mated to cost up­wards to $800,0000. Govern­ment has de­nied the fund­ing as the ther­apy is still con­sid­ered ex­per­i­men­tal.

Mar­laina Adams, who started the pe­ti­tion on, said it’s di­rected at the prime min­is­ter, Al­berta’s health min­is­ter and this prov­ince’s premier and health min­is­ter.

“Ev­ery time some­body signs the pe­ti­tion, the de­ci­sion mak­ers in­cluded in the pe­ti­tion get an email,” Adams said dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

As of Feb. 2, the pe­ti­tion had gar­nered over 5,000 sig­na­tures.

“I was aim­ing for 5,000 (sig­na­tures) orig­i­nally but now that we’ve reached that, I’d like it to keep go­ing,” Adams said.

If gov­ern­ments come for­ward with money to­wards Con­nor’s treat­ment it may help other fam­i­lies fac­ing sim­i­lar med­i­cal hur­dles in the fu­ture, she said.

Adams said friends and fam­ily of the McGraths have nu­mer­ous on­go­ing fundrais­ers that have al­ready raised over $20,000.

How­ever, with­out govern­ment as­sis­tance it will be im­pos­si­ble to raise the stag­ger­ing amount of money needed for the treat­ment.

“Time def­i­nitely isn’t on our side here. We don’t have a year or so to raise the money,” Adams said.

A Face­book page Sup­port for Con­nor McGrath has over 2,300 mem­bers. Peo­ple are en­cour­aged to join the group to fol­low the fam­ily’s story and to find ways to con­trib­ute to the cause.

Fur­ther ques­tions can be di­rected to Adams at mar­laina5810@hot­


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