August 31, 2021

Ivan’s Surprise Gift

In August, Tackle Kids Cancer joined forces with Michael Feeney’s Best Day Ever Foundation to set up a super special surprise for video game enthusiast Ivan, a 17-year-old brain tumor patient, to ensure he had the best day ever. Tackle Kids Cancer and Michael Feeney’s Best Day Ever Foundation came together to surprise Ivan with a PS5, a gaming console he has wanted since its release last November. To date, the PS5 is challenging to locate.

“Getting a surprise PS5 was amazing! I’m so appreciative of Tackle Kids Cancer and Michael Feeney’s Best Day Foundation for going above and beyond to grant me, and other kids, wishes like this. This was a great end to my summer!” said Ivan.

Ivan was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a very aggressive brain tumor in February 2020. Initially, he presented with seizure episodes that were not able to be controlled with medication. After visiting Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, an MRI of Ivan’s brain showed an area that was suspicious for a tumor. He was seen by Derek Hanson, M.D., chief of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, and Timothy Vogel, M.D., director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, at the Children’s Cancer Institute.
Dr. Vogel recommended Ivan undergo surgery and he successfully removed the tumor. Ivan then underwent radiation therapy to the brain for treatment.

In June 2020, Ivan was enrolled in Dr. Hanson’s Phase I Clinical Trial using the Optune Device, a device worn on the head that sends electric fields into the brain to interfere with cancer cell division and lead to cancer cell death, plus chemotherapy. It has been FDA approved for adults with glioblastoma, but has only been studied in children in a limited fashion. This trial is the first pediatric study combining Optune with standard chemotherapy treatment. Ivan has completed the study, receiving 12 cycles of treatment. He is continuing to receive treatment following the study protocol, as Dr. Hanson feels he is continuing to receive benefits from the treatment. Ivan’s participation in the clinical trial has improved his health significantly and he is enjoying his time playing on his PS5 and making videos. Way to go, Ivan!