Last Trip to Vermont

We're back in Vermont for the end of Max's Nifurtimox trial. We left on Wednesday (3/14) and are coming home today, 3/17. "We" being Melissa, me, Hannah and Max. We left Nic at home with Melis' parents - word was that he was spotted walking around their house clutching a photo of our family kissing it. :(

Last night and right now, it's snowing in Burlington - a Nor'easter. Our flight at 8am today was cancelled by noon yesterday, but we're re-booked on a 2pm flight today through Dulles (no directs to SD obviously) that we hope gets us home around 830/9pm SD time. Before we leave today I'll take Max out in the parking lot and bust through some drifts (we rented an Xterra as Max likes "Jeeps" and similar).

Yesterday, we attended a conference - Developments in Neuroblastoma - while the kids were babysat at RMH Burlington. It was a fabulous conference organized and hosted by the wonderful Dr. Giselle Sholler who cares so much about our NB kids. Besides some of the big names in NB research, Drs. Maris, Matthay and Modak, there were other UVM researchers presenting some fascinating work in the areas of cancer stem-cells, genetic origins of NB and more. While much of the presentations were so science-heavy Melis and myself couldn't grasp the meaning of what was being presented, we still felt good being there, along with some of the other parents who attended, in order to represent our kids and the ultimate reason everyone was there - to find a cure for this damned disease.

The trip out here was pretty hectic, to say the least. First, we had a 6:20am departure from SAN on Wednesday. So it was a 4am start for us that day. Of course, that Monday Max caught the flu bug that Nic was just getting over (as we dropped him off at Nana & Tata's house that night for 4 nights). So the next day while traveling, Max was wiped out completely. Sleeping most of the time on the flight from SAN to ORD, he threw-up as we were running to catch our connecting flight to BVT. Oh, he also has bone pain, in addition to just being weak from not eating for days and the flu, and so I was carrying him as he started to puke. Luckily we were right next to a men's restroom and so we didn't make too much of a mess ;) Poor guy! I was ready to kill anyone who even said anything negative as I helped him finish his sickness and clean up. Finally, we got to our gate (as usual, United sends the WRONG gate number through their texting service to your mobile phone) in the other terminal just in time to get going.

One of the other great things about this trip was meeting Syd Birrell and family. Syd's son James passed away from Neuroblastoma in 2001. You can visit their website here: http://www.jamesfund.ca/. Syd wrote a book titled after one of James' quotes, "Ya Can't Let Cancer Ruin Your Day." During the course of James' treatment, Syd created the James Fund for Neuroblastoma research. He was able to enlist Tom Hanks to lend access and awareness to the James Fund cause and so far Syd has raised more than $2 million dollars for NB research in Canada at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. Neil Hutchison, father of Sam and fellow San Diegan, and myself will be tapping Syd's brain for ideas to help do the same here in the US.


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