A 6-year-old girl facing cancer has the steadfast support of her grade school best friend, who let her shave his head so that they could sport matching looks as she undergoes treatment.
Lulu DeVries took an electric buzzer to Oisin Ruskin’s head after he asked his parents what he could do to help his close friend, whom he met on the first day of school in September 2017. Just a few months after they met, LuLu’s parents, of Bedfordshire, England, noticed that she was tiring easily, and she struggled walking to school or going up the stairs to bed, SWNS reported.
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An MRI at Bedford Hospital revealed a tumor on her kidney, which was later diagnosed as high-risk neuroblastoma, SWNS reported. Neuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor that occurs in children, and typically develop in the adrenal glands, but can also be found in the chest, spine region or abdomen. According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, neuroblastoma accounts for 7 to 10 percent of childhood cancers.
High-risk patients, like Lulu, typically undergo more intense treatments which includes higher-dose chemotherapy treatments and immunotherapy as well as a stem cell transplant. The five-year survival rate for high-risk patients is about 50 percent, according to St. Jude’s.
“When he was shown the mirror he said to Lulu: ‘I look like you now.’”
“We heard the words no parents want to hear – ‘Your child has cancer,’” Rob DeVries, Lulu’s father, told SWNS of the January 2018 diagnosis. “It felt like a dagger. The first few days after the diagnosis were a total daze. It was brought on by a birth defect so it’s just been there growing without anyone realizing. It wasn’t as if something was sticking out.”
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Lulu has already had multiple rounds of chemotherapy, an eight-hour surgery to remove 95 percent of the tumor and is in the midst of receiving immunotherapy. The family is currently fundraising, which includes a 12 marathons in 12-day effort from her father, for a chance to take Lulu to New York, where a cancer vaccine trial is underway.
Another part of that fundraising is credited to Oisin, who did his part in telling people about his plans to shave his head in support of his best friend.
“We were a bit dubious at first because he has lovely long longs so we said ‘wait until you get to 100 pounds [approx. $132] and we’ll see,” Jo Ruskin, the boy’s mother, told SWNS. “Oisin turned round and said he was going to make the target 2,000 pounds [approx. $2,670]. We thought it was a bit ambitious so we just said ‘let’s keep it at 100 pounds.’ When we noticed the campaign taking off we decided to set a date.”
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Oisin surpassed his $2,670 goal within three days, helping to chip away at the family’s needed $214,600, and Lulu happily did the honors of shaving his head.
“When he was shown the mirror he said to Lulu: ‘I look like you now,’” Ruskin told SWNS.