Butler County Teen Used Trial Treatments When Battling Cancer

By: Lauren Forsythe Email
By: Lauren Forsythe Email

Kim says doctors at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital always told her they would gladly close their doors if a cure for cancer was found.

Trial drugs are used daily to help prolong a cancer patient's life.

And it was a trial treatment that helped one young cancer patient live a longer life.

"Robert went through a lot of trials at St. Jude. Some of the protocols they used on Robert are now being used to save children," says Myla Thomas, The Beaver 96.7 radio host, and a close family friend with the Cunningham family.

When then 12-year-old Butler County native, Robert Cunningham was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 11th, 2007, it was an uphill fight.

"It may give them 30 days, it may give them 30 years. All of the families we have worked with are happy to do it because they know eventually we will find a cure, we will cure leukemia, and it's because of these trials that we get to that point," Thomas says.

Several trial treatments later, Robert was cancer free.

"I beat cancer, I'm home. That's all there is to it now," Robert Cunningham said in 2008 on his 13th birthday. .

It was the first time he came home after beating leukemia.

"When he said, 'He's got leukemia', it just takes your breath. I don't know, it takes your heart," said Robert's mother, Kim Cunningham, on his 13th birthday.

Sometime after his birthday, Robert's cancer relapsed.

He was only 15 years old when he lost his battle with cancer.

"If we can cure childhood leukemia even one type and if they get that one cure, then they will know they can start branching out and do it for other types of leukemia and cancer," Thomas says.

This is Robert with his friend Raven Durbin, also a former Butler County High School student.

Raven lost her battle with leukemia last year at the age of 18.

Kim says doctors at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital always told her they would gladly close their doors if a cure for cancer was found.

A Robert Cunningham Memorial Scholarship has been set up, to help Butler County High School students go to college.

A Poker Ride is set for Saturday, April 6, to fund the scholarship.


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