Help Amber Lunn and her battle with Cancer
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My name is Captain Michael Patterson; I work with the Holly Springs Police Department in Holly Springs, NC.  The Holly Springs Police Department, CrossFit Zeal and MyWay Tavern are hosting several fundraising events on September 6th, 2014 to ... More ...

My name is Captain Michael Patterson; I work with the Holly Springs Police Department in Holly Springs, NC.  The Holly Springs Police Department, CrossFit Zeal and MyWay Tavern are hosting several fundraising events on September 6th, 2014 to help a 2-year old girl, Amber Lunn and her family cover expenses that they have incurred and will continue to incur during her battle with cancer.  We are trying to raise as much as possible between now and September 6th, 2014 and would love for you to donate to help this family that is need.

 

Just to give you a little background, Amber is a 2 year old little girl who was diagnosed in August, 2013 with retinoblastoma, a cancer within her eyes.  She is currently in the midst of her fight against cancer and we want to help.   Amber's battle started about 8 months ago when she was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, a cancer within her eyes. It started at a very young age (2 weeks old) when Amber's mother, Amanda, noticed a glow in her eye. It looked very much like the iridescent glow you see in animals, that yellowish-green glow when the light hits their eyes just right. The iridescent glow would come and go and would always disappear when the family would take Amber to the pediatrician's office for her well visits.   Amber's mother also noticed "the glow" in most all the pictures she would take of her daughter. Instead of having the normal red-eye response, Amber had leukocoria where her eye would have a white glare in it when flash photography was used. If you ever see this in children, please take them as well as the picture to an eye doctor as it can be a sign of a serious problem.

In June 2013, Amber's right eye started veering, and in August while at her sister's well visit, the pediatrician recommended the family take Amber to the eye doctor. The family took Amber to see Dr. Vito in Holly Springs, and he told them that Amber's right retina had fully detached and her left retina had partially detached. He set up an appointment with a specialist for them to see that afternoon and recommended that they be prepared just in case Amber had to have emergency surgery to remove both of her eyes that very night.

 

The Lunn family then started treatment at Duke and learned that Amber had absolutely no vision in her right eye. Amber received 2 rounds of systemic chemotherapy. During these treatments the family felt lucky if Amber ate a total of three pieces of shredded cheese.  But as children do, she adapted really well.  The doctors at Duke had wanted to do 6 rounds of systemic chemo, but at one point they mentioned that only the first two would actually shrink the tumors. After that, it would just stop new growth and keep them stable. They also believed that Amber's right eye would have to be removed because the tumor was so large and they could not see whether or not it was close to the opening of the optic nerve. (If the tumor were to escape the eye from this opening, there would not really be any treatment available that would save her life.)  I couldn't see making Amber go through further systemic chemo if they weren't going to really help, so I looked at other possibilities. 

With the help of Dr. Fritz, an orthodontist in Holly Springs whose sister works with Dr. Abramson at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, the family found the perfect solution. Dr. Abramson works specifically with children who have retinoblastoma and with the help of Dr. Gobin at NY Presbyterian Hospital next door, created and perfected intra-arterial chemotherapy for this cancer. With this treatment, they insert a catheter in the child's leg and run it through the arteries all the way to the back of the eye. Then, they can direct the chemo straight at the eyes. Amber had three rounds of this chemo, her last being in December. She responded miraculously to this. The five hours of having her lay still afterwards in recovery was rough, but by the next day you would not know anything was wrong. Her appetite was almost back to normal and she was playing like a happy, healthy little girl. 

Unfortunately, after The Lunn's initial meeting with the team in NYC, they also concurred that Amber's right eye needed to be removed. Her eye was removed the end of October. While it was probably much harder for her parents, the doctor who removed her eye said that it was in fact already dying and shrinking. If they would not have removed it at that time, it would have eventually just fallen out. While the doctors said it was probably not that painful for her, it was probably a nagging sensation that eventually at some point just grasped her attention enough to consume her thoughts. She went about four months without an eye in her socket. Her eye lids still opened, and you could see the pale pink that lines your eyelids. This past February, she received a prosthetic eye. 


At this point, the Lunn family goes to Sloan-Kettering every 4-5 weeks and on the previous two trips Dr. Abramson has not had to do any treatments.  As of today's dates, Amber is down to one small tumor. When Amber started her battle with cancer there was one medium size and three or four small tumors. The tumor that is left has been lasered around the perimeter and at this time is stable and not growing. We do have to keep a close watch on it as well as new tumor growth which can happen until approximately age 6. 

 

If you are interested, you can follow the family on their Facebook page for updates and stories regarding her family's hopes, dreams, and ultimately Amber's battle. The link for her Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/#!/AmbersAspirations.

Please stay tuned for further details!

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