Planning a Fundraiser for the evening of Friday,Oct. 02 here at the studio. Please save the date. more details to follow…
Greetings to All who Know and Love Kent,
As you may know, Kent Pankow and Deb Hurford will be going to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota tomorrow morning for treatment of Kent’s brain tumours. Family and friends of Kent and Deb will also be raising funds to offset the costs of Kent’s treatments.
Kent, February, 2009
2000 – In January of 2000, Kent had a seizure and was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumour, the size of a golf ball, in the right frontal lobe of his brain. Kent successfully underwent 2 skull surgeries, maximum radiation, and Temodal chemo treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. The surgeries resulted in minor memory loss and Kent remained free of cancer for 7 years. Given the aggressive nature of GBM tumours, Kent’s recovery was considered remarkable – but for anyone who knows him, he’s no quitter, so you know the rest…
2008 – During his annual MRI in the spring of 2008, two small tumours appeared in Kent’s right frontal lobe. He was treated with a second chemo, called Temodal, from May 2008 to January 2009. The chemo appeared to be working for the first nine months but, by January, the tumours had adapted to the drug and they were growing.
2009 – Since Temozolomide chemo was no longer working, Kent was treated with a second chemo, called CCNU, from February to August 2009. In the beginning, CCNU appeared to be shrinking the tumours but, by August, the tumours had adapted to the drug and they began to increase in size and spread.
August, 2009 – Doctors at the Cross prescribed a third chemo, called Etoposide (VP-16), for Kent on a daily and indefinite basis. The chemo and tumour activity were having an impact on Kent’s quality of life. He was feeling nauseous, had low energy, was sleeping a lot and couldn’t remember phone numbers of friends and family members. He also broke his collar bone on August 13, 2009 while doing stamina training at then gym.
When the third chemo was prescribed, we decided to contact the Mayo Clinic for possible treatment. The doctors at the Mayo examined Kent’s medical file and they feel he would benefit from treatment at their facility. They had scheduled an appointment for him on September 23rd, 2009. This was very good news, as the Mayo rejects international patients if they do not believe the Clinic can offer a promising treatment strategy, given the expenses associated with travel to the Mayo.
Kent’s Current Condition
Kent was losing his balance this past week, and he was falling down a lot so his doctor ordered an urgent MRI on September 10, 2009. The MRI revealed that there are currently 3 tumours in Kent’s right frontal lobe. The largest was 3.5 cm three weeks ago, but it has increased substantially in the past three weeks. There is now tumour activity in the centre of Kent’s brain, where surgery is not possible. Additionally, Kent has three sizeable cysts that may need to be drained in the very near future, and there may be some bleeding near the cysts. As a result, his doctor suggested we try to obtain an earlier appointment at the Mayo.
We managed to get an appointment for Tuesday, September 15, and we are flying to Rochester tomorrow morning. Kent has been assigned to Dr. Ian F. Parney at the Mayo.
Why the Mayo Clinic?
There is only one chemo left on the market in Canada available to Kent, and it would take 4 weeks to start working – and living every day with chemo doesn’t feel like a real solution. The doctors at the Cross did not want to do surgery until Kent loses speech, motor coordination, etc., as they have a philosophy of “do no harm.” Although we respect that philosophy, there is also no guarantee that Kent would regain those functions if surgery were to take place, after the fact.
The Mayo Clinic has access to drugs that are not yet approved in Canada, they have a state-of-the-art Gamma Knife surgery machine, and they attract the best doctors in the world. “Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is ranked No. 1 in Neurology & Neurosurgery in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings.”
According to the financial advisors at the Mayo Clinic, the costs for Kent’s treatment could be as high as $120,000 US. The cost of skull or Gamma Knife surgery ranges from $76,000 to $84,000 US, for example.
Although we have some funds available, and our families are trying to help us out, the $120,000 US figure is a bit daunting.
Team Kent Fundraisers
We will be holding some fundraising events over the months to come to help offset the costs of Kent’s medical treatments at the Mayo Clinic. The band “Blackboard Jungle” will be donating their groovy stylings for a celebration on a Saturday night in October or early November, and we will likely have a silent auction and accept donations, etc.
We also need to investigate income tax laws on this front, so everyone involved benefits, rather than paying additional taxes or penalties. We just haven’t had the time to deal with this yet. Please stay tuned for more details, after we return from the Mayo.
Be a Part of Team Kent
Email us at Team.Kent@hotmail.com to let us know if you would like to receive regular email updates from Kent and Deb. We’ll be sending updates on our trip to the Mayo with Deb’s mom, Paula.
You can also email Kent to wish him healing vibes at the Mayo – and recommend your favourite comedy movie to him, as he has a lot of free time on his hands these days.
Feel free to drop by the house and visit Kent and Deb any time, upon our returmn. Our address is: 10945 – 81 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5H 1L6.
A Big Thanks to everyone who has provided support to us. Your friendship, love, humour and prayers mean a lot. – Kent and Deb
Learn More about GBM Tumours, Gamma Knife Surgery and the Mayo Clinic
Dr. Ian F. PARNEY
GBM Brain Tumours
Gamma Knife Surgery
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota