Three-year-old eye cancer patient dies

National

By OGIA MIAMEL
THREE-year-old Bongre Anthon was a brave little boy who was diagnosed with stage 4b retinoblastoma earlier this year.
After a courageous fight against this aggressive form of eye cancer common in children, Bongre died peacefully in the arms of his parents Peter and Sinta in Goroka.
His father Peter told The National from Goroka that Bongre was born a healthy baby boy on Feb 22, 2014, and grew up a normal child.
However, he was sick in 2015 and they took him to Goroka Provincial Hospital to seek medical treatment but he was misdiagnosed with conjunctivitis, or eye soreness and given eye drops and sent home.
Later in March 2016 his condition worsened so they took him to a visiting eye specialist from Africa who confirmed Bongre had retinoblastoma and referred him to Mt Hagen Provincial Hospital for chemotherapy to prepare him for surgery.
By that stage the tumour had grown so large, it needed to be treated with radiation treatment before surgery was possible. But as radiation treatment is not available in PNG, Bongre was sent home with a grim diagnosis.
Later with the assistance of Simbu Children’s Foundation founder Jimmy Drekore and his wife Elisabeth, Michael Williams, Lawyer Greg Sheppard and other individuals he was taken to Port Moresby General Hospital for further tests and treatment.
Doctors at PMGH advised his parents that he had stage 4b retinoblastoma and the cancer had spread to the left part of his eye and brain and no form of medical intervention, like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, could save his life.
His parents were told to begin palliative care back at their home in Goroka.
“Doctors said if they cut to remove the cancer it will affect his eye and it will spread to other parts of his body. We brought him home to Goroka, looked after him on medication and did the best we could,” Anthon said.
“Government didn’t recognise us, but I am thankful to the people who helped us along our journey, our sponsor and donors and those who prayed for us.”
Bongre’s body will be taken to his father’s Oruma village in Unggai-Bena district.
Those who want to support the family can contact Anthon on 70784104.

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