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Facing Childhood Cancer In Wyoming [AUDIO]

Karen Snyder, K2 Radio

Childhood Cancer; its a subject the Jason’s Friend’s Foundation has brought out of the shadows here in Natrona County. A seminar Thursday in Casper featured a documentary film producer who shared what she learned about child hood cancer during a multi-year project that looked at how families respond to the disease, the risks of treatment, and follow up care. K2 Radio talks with two seminar participants-Central Wyoming parents who know the journey.

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“I’m here today as a parent of a child who is in remission from rhabdomyo sarcoma. She was diagnosed at age 2 in 2002.”

That’s Kathryn Arevalo,  she’s from Casper and following diagnosis she was first sent to Denver with her daughter, but ended up in Texas for treatments for a form of muscle tissue cancer. Her daughter is now nine years old, in remission and healthy. Kathryn was at the seminar this week because she knows that that could change, but also, because, as she was going through the cancer fighting process she had very few resources to turn to.

“Honestly, here in the state of Wyoming there is a lack of education, information.   Even, health professionals, I find, are seriously lacking. In programs, assistance, opportunities, we’re way, way, behind and its time to take a stand, if I can contribute that.”

Amy Longtine, traveled from Riverton to attend. Her four year-old son finish chemo last fall and following surgeries to remove tumors she says he’s now in remission.

“He’s doing great, he’s got a lot of catching up to do.  Considering everything that he’s gone through he’s doing everything a normal four year old should be doing. ”  Longtine was asked how she’s doing, “Still recovering I think, but fine. I think that everybody that I’ve talked to today has said  you don’t ever really rest, because there are other things to worry about. He’s just had his  second set of scans that he gets every three months so its kind of nerve racking.”

Amy says she’ll take away from Thursday’s seminar text book information, but, she says its the real life stories and the networking that she finds so valuable.

Both moms say the Jason Friends Foundation in Casper is a great resource.

Jason’s Friends played a role in getting the seminar to happen.

“When my son was first diagnosed they offered resources as far as places to look and  stuff. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today, they helped a lot.”

Amy Longtine is also a pharmacists and she says, as a professional, the seminar has a lot to offer.

The seminar sponsors, the Wyoming Comprehensive Cancer Control Consortium plan another event in late summer or fall and would like to see professionals in related fields take an interest.

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