PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This is a mission to raise money specifically for immunotherapy research. It’s been called a game changer, the next frontier in treating, even curing cancer.
A New Jersey teenager is hoping a new immunotherapy works for him and he’s come up with a unique was to get some much needed funding for research.
Errol McDowell, 17, is an accomplished musician and while enjoying old music, a brand new treatment is saving the Princeton teenager’s life.
Errol has been battling medulloblastoma, a rare brain cancer, since he was 12.
“I think the hardest part was just missing so much school,” Errol said.
Despite having surgery, chemo, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, the cancer keeps coming back.
“The first couple of years it was more scary but it’s not definitive of my life,” Errol said. “It’s kind of just like a pain that i have to deal with.”
“Now he’s dealing with a new immunotherapy, an experimental treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer.”
Errol’s father, Rider, is convinced scientist are on the right path.
In Rider’s desperate search for ways to save his son, he learned immunotherapy was their last hope and that research for it needed much better funding.
It’s something Errol was worried about during one of his treatments as he was sick in a hospital bed.
“Errol just said, ‘I don’t want any other kids to go through this. Dad, what if we just got a dollar from every American, would that help?'”
Errol and his parents created Cancer-A-Gogo to raise money going to immunotherapy research.
“Not everybody has a thousand bucks, or a million,” Rider said. “But people have a dollar and that’s the power of the American spirit.
“I’m just hoping that it can really help people in terms of the immunotherapy.”
The McDowells are aiming to raise money to fund 27 cutting edge cancer treatments and hoping Errol’s newest therapy will keep him
and his two younger brothers together for a long time.
The McDowell family has set up Cancer-A-Gogo so that donations go directly to doctors, researchers and labs.