Patient bravely fights brain cancer
A fundraiser is set for a man undergoing experimental therapy
Cory Kawamoto was driving his sons and their teammates to a neighborhood recreational center after a Little League baseball game more than three years ago when life changed dramatically for his family.
For more information, visit www.friendsofcory.com or www.IlikaiHotel.com. The fundraiser hot line is 808-535-6243. Donations also may be made at any Bank of Hawaii branch on Oahu or mailed to Friends of Cory, P.O. Box 1328, Honolulu, HI 96807. Make checks payable to "YBA of Honolulu."
He lost the ability to speak and fell to the ground with a grand mal seizure. That was the beginning of three years of tests, seizures, surgery and chemotherapy for a highly malignant form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.
"Cory's Story" is told on a Web site by former classmates from Roosevelt High School, co-workers from Stuart Anderson's Cattle Co., relatives and friends.
They formed Friends of Cory to help his family with huge expenses involved in his treatment. A fundraiser will be held Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel's Pacific Ballroom. A complete list of auction items is available on www.friendsofcory.com.
Kawamoto showed improvement after surgeons removed most of the tumor, and "by August 2003 he even felt and looked the most physically fit he had ever been, and there was hardly any evidence of the tumor," his friends reported on their Web site.
"We even had our usual December dinner at Roy's, more joyous than ever, and extremely grateful to God because a year earlier we thought that was something we might never be able to do again."
However, because of his treatments, Kawamoto was unable to work, and his family had to sell their home and one of their cars and move in with his parents.
He began having grand mal seizures again, controlled with medications. The cancer appeared to be in remission, then a routine MRI showed two tumors were growing in an inoperable part of his brain, his friends wrote.
His wife, Sue, learned about an experimental treatment program. Kawamoto was accepted, and she learned how to administer the experimental drug intravenously at home.
Results were encouraging, Friends of Cory reported, but the side effects of various medications and the effects of the cancer itself have taken a heavy toll on Kawamoto's health.
In a Feb. 1 update, the group said Kawamoto had been hospitalized for two months with pneumonia and respiratory problems.
Sue Kawamoto no longer can work because she must administer drug treatments six times a day and constantly monitor Kawamoto's condition, said Friends of Cory.
Besides mounting hospital and other medical expenses, the experimental cancer treatments cost $7,600 a month and are not covered by insurance, they said.