College Football Squad Makes 3 Year-Old Margate Boy with Cancer Part Of Team
Danny Feltwell's short life is about to take another interesting turn. Beginning this summer, the three year-old will become an honorary member of the University of Delaware Football Team.
Danny, who I've written about here before and talked about on the Morning Show, is a three year-old battling a rare form of childhood cancer. This brave little boy has spent almost half his life under a rigorous and debilitating chemotherapy regime. Every day for a week, once a month or more, he and his father travel from their Margate home to Delaware for chemo treatments at A.I. duPont Cancer Hospital for Children.
Dan Sr. is a single dad who left his job last year to focus on caring for his son. In an attempt to make himself more familiar with his son's condition, Dan has become something of a lay expert on childhood cancer, its treatment, the drugs used (or lack of drugs, in this case ), and the impact the disease has on the lives of other families and their children.
Through the course of his treatment at duPont, Danny has become involved in the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, a cancer support organization which has local chapters based on a handful of colleges campuses. Danny has been chosen, or adopted, by the Blue Hens Football Team from the University of Delaware to be a part of their team this year. Beginning this July, in per-season, and throughout the regular season, Danny will be with the team in the locker room and on the sidelines at all the home games and will attend events with the team. What an experience for a deserving little boy who wants so much to be just a normal kid!
This news comes to me in a letter I received a few days ago from Dan Feltwell, Sr. I have posted the entire letter below so you can read more about Danny's life and treatment from his father's perspective. I think you'll admire Dan Feltwell, Jr and Sr. , as much as I do after reading it. I too will be routing for the Blue Hens this college football season.
I am sorry that it has taken me longer to reply than I would have liked. Danny is doing well, we have been able to stay home without being an inpatient at Ai duPont Hosp. Since we last spoke Danny has started back in school at the Ross Elementary School in Margate. Danny really enjoys going and being around children again, he looks forward with going to bed at night because he knows that school is in the morning. This past Easter was a very special one for us, last Easter Danny was a very sick little guy. Last year Danny developed Autonomic Neuropathy, this is a Neuropathy of the Autonomic Nervous System. Danny could not digest food, dismotility, and his blood pressure was very high. This Autonomic Neuropathy was brought on by a Chemotheraputic Compound called Vincristine. Danny has only recieved a 50% dose of Vincristine for the last year and we have had to skip a few doses all together.
Eventhough Danny has problems, to this day, with the side effects of Chemotherapy his playful nature and beautiful spirit are present more often than not. This Easter we went to my sister Debbie`s house for dinner and fun. We had a wiffleball game and Danny batted and ran the bases as if he has never had adversity, this was one of the most beautiful days I have ever had.
Three weeks ago Danny started his third Maintenance Cycle of Chemotherapy, this included an IV infusion of Vincristine and a Spinal Tap with Intrathecal Methotrexate. You may have heard of the shortage of Methotrexate in the news lately. This shortage was of Intrathecal Methotrexate or Preservative Free Methotrexate. Methotrexate is used to treat many types of illness even Arthitis, but Intrathecal, Preservative Free, Methorexate is Primarily used to Treat Children with Leukemia and Lymphoma. This Spinal Tap with Intrathecal Methotrexate treats and prevents Cancer cells from invading the Central Nervous System of these Children. This shortage was due to two things the fist being that a major manufacturer of Preservative Free Methotrexate had to be shut down for quality control reasons and the other manufacturers cut production or stopped production because of low profits, economy, natural disasters etc...and the fact that Preservative Free Methotrexate is over 20 yrs old and not profitable for these companies in treating Childhood Cancer. Many in the Private Sector Research, Pharmaceutical Co`s, have deemed Childhood Cancer too Rare and Not Profitable. Our crisis has been diverted for a short time by a supply from Canada and the increase of production by the one manufacturer who was making Preservative Free Methotrexate and the approval of another manufacturer to start production. But once the influx of money runs out, Federal intervention, we will find that our Children with Cancer will have a shortage of Chemotherapeutic Drugs. Right now there are 28 Chemotherapeutic Drugs used to treat Childhood Cancers in Dangerously low supply, my son needs 7 different Chemotherapeutic Drugs on this list
This time next year we may have this very same issue in the news again, if we do not do something now. Next week Danny and I will be at AI duPont every day, Mon through Fri, for Chemotherapy, Danny will receive 5 infusions of Nelarabine.
Another thing I would like to share, I have been involved with a wonderful Childhood Cancer Foundation, The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation (bepositive.org) and Danny is a B+ Hero. The B+ Foundation has been teaming up Student Groups on College Campuses with Children who are fighting, and have fought, Cancer. Danny has been chosen to be a part of a Student Group at The University of Delaware, the UD Football Team!! Danny will get to enjoy being a part of the University of Delaware Football Team. Starting in July, pre-season, and throughout the season Danny will enjoy the locker room and sidelines at all home games and Events around the area. So now UD will always be my favorite College Football Team, GO BLUE!!!
Thank you for asking and caring about Danny, I will send another Email soon.
Danny`s Dad (Dan)