September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a stark reminder for Carmen and Scott Murray about the devastating impact of the disease. Carmen, a deputy probation officer, and Scott a supervising probation officer, have spent the last two years fighting for their son Ty’s life.
Today, County Supervisor Liz Kniss, Chair of the Board’s Health and Hospital Committee, presented the Murrays with a proclamation from the Board of Supervisors in support of their long struggle with cancer and their dedication to fighting neuroblastoma, the disease their son Ty developed two years ago. The family held a fundraising event on Saturday that raised approximately $15,000 to find a cure for the disease.
“I commend the Murrays on their courage and strength as they fight for their son’s life, and their ongoing efforts to raise awareness about childhood cancer,” said Supervisor Liz Kniss. “Of course all cancers present a challenge, however childhood cancer is devastating to families and we need to shine light on the struggles families face.”
“I commend the Murrays on their courage and strength as they fight for their son’s life, and their ongoing efforts to raise awareness about childhood cancer,” said Supervisor Liz Kniss, Board of Supervisors. “Childhood cancer is devastating to families and we need to shine light on the struggles families face and the need for a cure.”
At 16 months old, Ty Murray was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer. He was considered high risk and stage 4. Doctors told his family that there was no cure and the five year survival rate was only 30 percent.
“I never thought we would have a child with cancer,” Carmen Murray said. “Our world was shattered and our goal in life was to save our son’s life.”
Children diagnosed with neuroblastoma before the age of 18 months have a high survival rate, but high risk children diagnosed before age 5 have about a 30 percent chance of growing up.
Ty began his treatment through Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. He endured seven rounds of high dose chemotherapy, an Autologous Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant, 27 rounds of radiation and had surgery to have his tumor removed. He has countless blood and platelet transfusions, countless MIBG, CT, and x-rays, as well numerous bone marrow aspirates and biopsies.
But when the clinical study at Stanford closed, Ty and his parents had to fly coast to coast, from California to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York where Ty now receives the 3F8 antibody treatment.
“Ty is our little fighter and has never shown signs of slowing down, even throughout this entire ordeal,” Carmen Murray said. “He is so strong and continues to power through it with a smile on his face. We are blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, and active little boy and know he will beat this cancer.”
In April, three-year-old Ty was officially found to have no evidence of the disease and will finish his treatment in March 2011.
Through it all, the Murrays co-workers at the Probation Department have rallied around the family. Co-workers have donated their vacation time to the Murrays to help with all the time they’ve had to take off to care for Ty and travel to New York.
In New York, the Murrays learned about Sloan Kettering’s Band of Parents, a non-profit organization made up of families from across the U.S. and around the world united because they each have a child diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
Through “Team Ty,” the Murray family raises funds for Band of Parents, including organizing Team Ty’s first annual dinner gala to help find a cure for neuroblastoma. The dinner gala was held on Saturday at the Wyndham Hotel. The event raised funds to find a cure, and raised awareness about childhood cancer.
To learn more about the Murray family journey:
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119
Posted: September 28, 2010