Funds are now being collected to help an Abbotsford girl receive medical treatment in Germany after battling cancer for two years.
Greta Loewen, 7, was diagnosed in December 2014 with a rare form of bone cancer, located in her spine, called Ewing’s sarcoma.
Greta’s cancer is currently in remission, but the treatment in Germany, which isn’t covered by the Medical Services Plan (MSP) of B.C., will stimulate her immune system.
“The care, if it works, will be given to improve Greta’s overall health and help her own body fight a recurrence,” said Greta’s mom, Heather Munro.
She said the treatment is standard in places such as Germany and Japan but has not yet been approved in Canada and the U.S., and it could be decades before it is.
Heather said the treatment is available through clinical trial in the U.S., but the cost is more than $300,000, compared to $35,000 (US funds) in Germany.
The treatment will take the family away from home for 10 to 12 weeks, likely next spring or summer.
Munro said, as far as they know, no child has ever survived a relapse of Ewing’s sarcoma in the spine.
“So going to Germany is the only proactive thing we can do, and we feel that it needs to be done,” she said.
Since her diagnosis, Greta has gone through several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation at BC Children’s Hospital, as well as treatment in Boston and Toronto.
She has also undergone surgery to release pressure on her spinal cord.
Munro said Ewing’s is an aggressive bone cancer, but so far Greta has beaten the odds.
“She is a living, breathing, loving, happy little seven-year-old miracle. We feel blessed beyond belief to continue to be with her today,” Munro said.
The community has rallied behind the Loewen family over the last two years, including holding several fundraisers to assist them with medical costs that are not covered by MSP and for additional expenses, such as travel and accommodation.
A Facebook page, Greta’s Team, reports on these fundraisers, as well as provides ongoing updates about Greta’s progress.
Donations to the Germany treatment can be made by PayPal and e-transfer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In turn, Greta’s mom and dad, Tim Loewen, are collecting donations of gifts to be given year-round to kids at BC Children’s Hospital. The gifts can be dropped off at their business, House of Fine Arts on West Railway Street.