Friends and family of 19-month-old Lucas Myles Standish of Youngstown have announced plans for a Love4Lucas benefit for the infant, who suffers from a rare form of liver cancer.
Lucas was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma in July and is now considered in stage IV. A very rare disease, particularly in younger children, HCC is a very aggressive cancer and does not respond well to chemotherapy, so in most cases patients end up needing a transplant. The only known cure is complete removal of the cancer itself.
Because of the size and location of the tumors on his liver, Lucas was originally not a candidate for a transplant. Fortunately, the family found a doctor at Boston Children's Hospital who was able to perform surgery to remove the cancer. In mid-September, Lucas underwent an eight-hour procedure where a team of doctors had to extract more than 75 percent of his liver and do a bypass on one of the chambers of his heart.
During his recovery, an oncologist determined the best way to move forward would be a liver transplant, because HCC is so aggressive and there are often microscopic cancerous cells remaining that can't be seen. The family had planned to proceed with a transplant, but a recent scan showed Lucas' cancer had spread to his lungs and a mass had returned to the remaining part of his liver. At that point, the doctors in Boston said there was nothing more they could do for him and that it is incurable.
Lucas returned home to Youngstown last week with his parents, Melissa and Pat, but they are still pushing forward and not giving up. The family is currently evaluating any and all options to determine the best way to proceed. In the meantime, friends and family are hosting this benefit to support Melissa and Pat and help offset their mounting medical expenses.
A benefit will be held for Lucas on Friday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. at Water Street Landing in Lewiston. The event will include music by Salt Peter with guest Neon Sea, a 50/50 split, plus a Love4Lucas raffle and other offerings.
Love4Lucas raffle tickets are available for $20 per ticket. Grand prize includes dinner at Fat Bob's Smokehouse; four tickets to the Buffalo Sabres versus Pittsburgh Penguins game on Feb. 5, 2014; and a signed Buffalo Sabres jersey.
The drawing will be held on Jan. 15, 2014, at Fat Bob's Smokehouse (winner need not be present).