GoFundMe Kian Faghih
The family of a young boy battling stage 4 cancer is pleading for help to fund an experimental — and possibly life-saving — treatment for him as time runs out.
Kian Faghih was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that develops in the muscles, two years ago when he was just 9, according to a GoFundMe page set up on his behalf.
Since then, Kian, now 11, has continued to battle the disease, which recently "returned with a vengeance and has multiplied throughout his lungs," his sister Dana Faghih said on the page.
"We're now forced to act fast, as his treatment options are few and his time is running out," she added. "My family and I have been searching for whatever it takes to get him the help he needs."
Unfortunately, that help won't come easily for the Faghih family.
GoFundMe Kian Faghih
According to Dana — whose family is based in Bellevue, Washington, per the GoFundMe — the only treatment that could save her little brother's life is an experimental, gene-targeted therapy called DeltaRex-G.
Dana said the drug has previously helped cure patients with bone cancer and pancreatic cancer and noted that Kian has already been able to start using it at the Sarcoma Oncology Center and the Aveni Foundation in Santa Monica, California.
However, access to the drug is extremely limited, as it's only available at that specific location and it is not yet mass-produced
According to CW affiliate KTLA, DeltaRex-G is produced by the Aveni Foundation, a nonprofit in Santa Monica, which funds manufacturing through private donations.
The drug, which targets tumors by cutting off their blood supply and destroying cells that build into them, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for compassionate use but its effectiveness is not yet fully proven, FDA News reported.
Due to the limited supply, Dana said her brother is only able to receive two weeks' worth of treatment on DeltaRex-G.
"We are optimistic that if Kian can continue to be treated with this medicine, he has a chance of winning his battle against cancer," Dana wrote on the GoFundMe. " This is an urgent matter; the sooner they get the funding, the bigger our chance to save his life."
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Dr. Erlinda M. Gordon, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist in Santa Monica, echoed those sentiments while speaking to KTLA, noting that the treatment may also prevent Kian from experiencing side effects of chemotherapy, like nausea, hair loss and immune suppression.
"This is really his last chance," Gordon told the outlet.
The Faghih family is now setting out to raise $500,000, the price that the Aveni Foundation needs in order to make the drug, which will be used to treat Kian and other cancer patients.
Dana said the funds raised will also go towards the testing, storing, shipping and FDA regulations studies of the drug.
"Please help us save Kian and in doing so, saving numerous other cancer [patients]," she wrote on the page. "Any donation you can afford would make an unbelievable difference."
"This is the only hope we're having to save his life," Kian's father, Jamshid Faghih, told KTLA.
Added Kian to the outlet: "It's a really kind thing to do, and it's good to do kind things."
As the family hopes for more donations to come in, Dana has been updating loved ones on Kian's condition and treatments. Most recently, she said she got to visit him in California while he was undergoing treatment.
"He seems to be breathing better after 5 Delta Rex infusions and 6 radiation sessions. He still has some pain in his lungs but it's manageable," she wrote.
"It's been a little hard for Kian to adjust to living away from home," Dana added. "I can tell he really misses being around all of his family, friends, and school. Unfortunately, he's had to miss the first few days of 6th grade, and it's unclear when he's able to go back to school."
So far, Kian's GoFundMe page has raised over $82,000. Those interested in donating can do so here.