“First Survivor” by Mark Unger is the extraordinary story of his son Louis, who at age three, is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called “Neuroblastoma” and is diagnosed with a zero chance of survival when the cancer spreads to his brain.
Mr. Unger and his wife Mary Ellen refuse to give up on their son and as a final resort join a trial at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC where 3F8 antibodies 8H9 antibodies circumvents the brain’s barrier and are released into the fluid surrounding the brain and attack and kill all remaining cancer cells.
The story starts with Louis first being diagnosed on Thanksgiving 2001 and is finally declared cured in March 2008. During that time the child is put through hundreds of treatments that are in many ways might be considered cruel, but which in the end are all part of the cure. Louis is one hell of a courageous boy and his parents, doctors, family members, and friends play a major part in his recovery and cure.
Mr. Unger writing is clear and concise and never once did I find myself lost or unable to understand certain procedures and terms. The procedures and treatments used on Louis to cure the cancer were in some ways experimental and in some cases were only in the trial stages. One procedure was actually named after the young patient, and because of its success children suffering from this terrible disease have upward to a sixty percent cure rate at the present time…an amazing leap thanks to the doctors, researchers, and personnel who have dedicated their lives to the treatment and cure of children with cancers. Real Heroes!!!!