In 2017, I did my first 70.3, and fell in love with triathlons. I got injured, and vowed to come back do my next one, but also to make a difference. Last year a friend, and fellow runner lost her only child to Osteosarcoma. She would always post Facebook updates on charities that would help her, and I wanted to support One of the ones. We decided on MIB Agents.
From Michael’s mother:”
I am raising money for MIB Agents in memory of Michael Heras.
Bio written by Jessica Heras, Michael’s mom.
Michael was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on May 11, 2016 at the age of 16 and started MAP chemotherapy treatment (first protocol for osteosarcoma) on May 23rd. Michael planned on spending his summer taking drivers ed and finding his first job but instead spend the summer in the hospital or at home feeling sick from the side effects of chemotherapy. From this point on his life was never the same.
In June 2016 Michael had a limb salvage surgery to remove the cancerous tumor on his right leg. This 13 hour surgery included a hip replacement and a metal rod to be placed where the bone was taken out on his femur. In September 2016, right around the time Michael turned 17, it was learned that his lung metastasis were still growing while on chemo so the chemotherapy treatment had to be changed. This next treatment, which is usually used for first relapsed, had to stop after two rounds due to severe neurological reactions. Instead of going to the next relapsed protocol the doctors decided to go back to the original treatment since it was the most effective.
Michael had his last round of MAP on May 15. He rang the end of treatment bell and was discharged on May 21, 2017.
Two weeks later during the end of treatment scans a new large tumor was found on Michael pelvic bone on the right side. Michael started the third relapse protocol chemotherapy immediately. This one was a combo drug that was given outpatient. By the second round of these two drug Michael developed a reaction from one of the drugs that gave him the equivalent of third degree burns on his hands. They dropped the drug that was causing the burns and continued with just one of the chemotherapy treatments. Once again his tumor and lung mets grew while on chemo.
At this point we were out of options with out local oncologist and had to get several doctor opinions including an osteosarcoma specialist in Cleveland.
Michael started a chemo pill that had just recently been used for osteosarcoma patients while we searched for a promising clinical trial since there were not more options for his cancer. This pill made him severely nauseous and cause intense tumor pain that rounded him in the hospital to control. He continued the pill till we were able to get him to Cleveland for an experimental drug Radium 223. Cleveland is the only place this drug is administered for osteosarcoma. The injection of Radium stalled the tumor growth but Michael was already in so much pain so he decided he wanted the tumor gone which would require a hemipelvectomy which is a leg amputation at the pelvis.
With the pelvic tumor gone the doctors wanted to concentrate on the lung mets so Michael started a clinical trial with an inhaled chemo.
In March 2018 during scans we learned that his cancer had come back and was in his pelvis, liver, ribs, arm and his head. Michael was again told there was nothing else they could do for him and was sent home to go on hospice.
We spoke to another doctor that may have some clinical trials to offer but with little promise and a long list of side effects Michael decided he was done and went on hospice. His cancer gradually took over his body and caused internal bleeding from his prostate being punctured by one of his tumors.
Michael passed away on May 25, 2018 at the age of 18, two years after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
This is the reality for a lot of children diagnosed with cancer, they run out of treatment options before they are ready to give up and their cancers take over their bodies and takes their lives.
This is the result of the lack of funding for the cancers that children get. We need more funding for research so that children have safer and more effective treatment options.
The Mission of M.I.B. Agents is to Make It Better for children with osteosarcoma, bone cancer. With love and hope, M.I.B. Agents:
1 Pairs a child in treatment with a survivor of their same cancer including through MiB Gamer Agents.
2 Provides items of comfort and entertainment (iPads, iTunes Cards, Noise Cancelling Headphones) for their treatment and recovery
3 Arranges end-of-life experiences and/or comfort for the child when options for treatment have been exhausted and they are on home hospice care.
4 Raises funds and awareness to increase research for better treatments and outcomes for those with osteosarcoma, including through the first osteosarcoma conference FACTOR and through our annual $100,000 funding initiative, OutSmarting Osteosarcoma.“