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Oct 282014
Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackmanby Hannah Carter, Contributing Writer

Hugh Jackman, the 46-year-old actor currently known best in his role as Wolverine, has just gone through his third round of treatment for basal cell carcinoma since November 2013. The Australian X-Men star is urging the his fans not to be concerned.

“Just to be clear,” Jackman told E! news earlier this year, “It is skin cancer — it’s a  basal cell carcinoma which, of all the skin cancers, is the most minor.” His representative has publicly stated that Jackman’s health is not in any immediate danger following the treatment.

Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of cancer people suffer of in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health, and is caused by harmful UV rays that can mutate cells when skin is exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Basal cell carcinoma is also generally treatable with regular check-ups to ensure that any new carcinomas are dealt with properly.

“I’m realistic about the future,” Jackman told the Associated Press, “and it’s more than likely that I’ll have at least one more but probably many more, which is not uncommon … growing up in Australia where I don’t remember ever being told to put sunscreen on.”

Basal cell carcinoma can be prevented by protecting skin from UV rays with hats, parasols, and sunscreen. We at Krypton Radio encourage our readers to don their protective gear before going outside.

Remember, even Wolverine needs hats and sunscreen!

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Jun 012014

Science fiction author Jay Lake

Jay Lake passed this morning, June 1 at 5:45 in the presence of family — and surrounded by the best wishes of a large portion of the science fiction community.  He was 50.

He wrote prolifically and in many formats – nine novels as well as hundreds of shorter form pieces for Postscripts, Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, Strange Horizons, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Nemonymous, and the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror. He was an editor for the “Polyphony” anthology series from Wheatland Press, and was also a contributor to the Internet Review of Science Fiction.

Lake’s illness started in his colon but progressed into his lungs and liver, resisting multiple treatment courses. The documentary Lakeside — A Year With Jay Lake following the course of his struggle had an in-progress screening at the 2013 Worldcon and will be released this year.

A fundraiser by fellow writers and fans, Acts of Whimsy raised money not for another specific treatment, but instead for Jay’s genome to be mapped.

Lake said to Jeff Baker of The Oregonian, “I’m open-sourcing my genome so that scientists and doctors as well as hobbyists and students can have access to a full human genome, which is very difficult to find right now … I haven’t been able to help myself very much so maybe I can help some other people.”

Somebody could study that and come up with something that will save the world.

“That’s exactly right. That’s why I want to give it away, so that somebody else can help save the world. If that becomes true then I have triumphed over my disease. Even if I’m not here to know it. My daughter will know. You will know. Everybody will know.”

Memorial contributions may be donated to Clayton Memorial Medical Fund c/o OSFCI P.O. Box 5703 Portland, Oregon 97228.

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Feb 072014
Reece bike

Reece, April 2013

by Laura Davis, managing editor

Reece Puddington lives in Whitstable, Kent, England with his parents and three siblings. He loves to play Call of Duty, Assasins’ CreedUncharted, and Lego games. He’s a fan of Marvel and DC comics, and the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Reece has just celebrated his 11th birthday, and he’s just written his bucket list. Reece suffers from neuroblastoma and his latest relapse has left him bed-ridden.

In April 2008, Reece was five years old and kept complaining to his parents, Paul and Kay, that his back and hip hurt. When Kay took him to the doctor, the doctor suspected a kidney infection, but took the precaution of ordering some tests at the local hospital. They kept him overnight for observation, but since tests didn’t reveal anything serious, they sent Reece home, saying he probably had a virus.

A few weeks later, his back pain had increased, so Kay returned to the doctor with Reece, and they were sent immediately back to the hospital for more in-depth testing. The ultrasound they ran revealed a tumor on one of his adrenal glands, and they diagnosed it as cancer.

I asked Kay about that day. “When you are told the news you are of course devastated,” she explains. “You feel like somebody has ripped out your heart and stomach. After about four days, you start to return to normal, and living with the illness almost becomes normality. There is a part of you that wonders what you did to deserve it.”

During the following week, Reece was transferred twice between hospitals and fitted with a Hickman line (a specific kind of central line) in preparation for his first round of chemotherapy. It’s easy to imagine a five-year-old being terrified at all of this, but Reece took it in stride; he even named the line his “Wigglies.” They also gave him an NG tube for supplemental feeding, since he’d already begun to lose weight. Additional testing revealed that the cancer had spread to Reece’s bone marrow, sternum, pelvis, and right femur. The official diagnosis: Stage 4 Neuroblastoma.

Kay adds, “They gave him a 40% chance of living ‘til end of treatment, and they told us he had an 80% chance of relapsing.”

Reece has, in fact, survived several rounds of chemo, a compromised immune system, sepsis, bone marrow biopsies, blood transfusions, and additional treatments. Although he’s been through a lot of ups and downs, sometimes spending weeks at a time back in the hospital, he’s had, until very recently, a surprising number of opportunities to just be a kid. His family’s Facebook pages are filled with photos of him visiting the local firehouse, playing outside, mugging for the camera, and riding his toy quad and his bike. On one special outing when he was nine, Reece and Paul visited Romans International.

Paul wrote, “Can’t believe my 9 year old son just sat in 6 million pounds worth of cars! Thank you to Romans International for letting my son sit in the most amazing and most expensive cars ever.” Among Reece’s premium seating were the coveted Bugatti Veyron and Ferrari Enzo!

Does the rest of the family share Reece’s love for video games, comics, and other geekery? Kay says, “Paul isn’t really a fan of video games other than Facebook games; he’s very much into Star Trek and quite likes Stargate: SG1 and Babylon 5. Ryan tends to join in and play the same video games with Reece.”

I asked Kay how Reece’s brother Ryan (19), and sisters Jamie (16) and Nikki (13) were coping with Reece’s illness. She said, “They cope quite well, all in all, especially as they have had nearly 6 years to get used to it all.  Nikki struggles the most out of the three. She wasn’t old enough to really understand the first time round. They are a great support to Reece and fully involve themselves with his treatment, care, and fundraising.”

Paul and Kay tried shortly after his diagnosis to get Reece an antibody treatment cocktail, which was developed in the U.S. The 3-drug cocktail was the most promising treatment available at the time, but in the U.K., only two of the drugs were available: a combination which had shown poor results in previous clinical trials. “The other option,” Kay explains, “was to look at treatment in America and Germany, which, as you know, would not be free to us.” Going abroad for treatment would have cost the family approximately £500,000.

In order to expand Reece’s access new treatment options, the family set up a fundraising appeal. Kay explains, “The appeal was initially set up to cover the cost of supplements and therapies that can be beneficial with his illness but are not recognised as standard treatments, therefore they are not funded and the costs were then our responsibility.”

The National Health Service’s approved course of treatment for neuroblastoma consists largely of chemotherapy, and Reece has had at least 6 rounds. After a relapse in September of 2012 (scans discovered a tumor on Reece’s skull and spots on other bones), he needed a particularly aggressive form of chemo. Paul and Kay drove Reece 130 miles round-trip each day for five days of the treatment, which made him violently sick. On day two of this course, Paul wrote that Reece had been up sick all night, “but after a 6-hour superhero film marathon, he’s finally not gagging any more … We just wish now the Hulk could come along and smash puny cancer!”

The family opted to try some nutritional and natural therapies, in addition to the chemo. Then, in early 2013, Reece enrolled in a trial for the drug Ridaforolimus. Although Reece was the longest-serving neuroblastoma patient in the trial and the drug did provide him 10 more months of quality life, he learned just before Christmas that he has relapsed. His tests show disease progression in his bone marrow and a new tumor, this one on his liver.

Earlier in January 2014, Reece had been offered spots in two different drug trials. I asked Kay whether these were still options for him. “The likelihood is that Reece is probably not going to be put through any more treatment but this decision hasn’t been officially discussed with the hospital and I guess never say never. Reece is full of surprises and has never done what’s predicted with this illness.”

At the end of January, Reece wrote, “I’d thought about doing a bucket list ever since I relapsed but as I had spent the best part of it thriving and shifting disease, it isn’t something I wanted to rush. Given my recent decline in health, I feel now is the time and I’d like to share it with you all. Some things will be possible and some things will remain a dream, but they will be MY wishes.”

Reece, age 11, with Whetherspoons breakfast

Reece, age 11, with Whetherspoons breakfast

His list included several items which were donated almost immediately: an Alienware laptop; an Xbox; breakfast from Whetherspoons “with my favorite people,” which the restaurant donated and had delivered; A blue PS4 controller; and a Beats Pill speaker (Reece adds, “Let’s hope my neighbours like Imagine Dragons.”). He also said he’d like to see Kay learn to drive, and a local driving instructor donated his time to teach her.

Reece’s latest post says:

“The following wishes are the only ones that remain outstanding. Some things will be possible and some will remain a dream, but they will be MY wishes:

  • A bedroom of my own.
  • To see the Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug movie.
  • A holiday to Sun City in South Africa (I’ve always wanted to go since seeing the destination on Worlds Strongest Man)
  • Meet Johnny Depp dressed in character as Captain Jack Sparrow (my mum’s trying to do this as a surprise as they are my favourite movies)”

Johnny Depp is known for his charity work, especially where children are concerned, so we hope it will be possible for him to help Reece tick another item off his bucket list!

I asked Kay whether she had any words of encouragement for other families with seriously ill children. “Normality goes a long way, “ she said.  “It deflects attention away from the negative aspects of the illness and treatment and provides routine and structure. Also quality time as a family where possible and the ability to laugh in a stressful situation. Also there is light at the end of the tunnel.”


If you’d like to contribute to Reece’s fundraising appeal, please use Paypal, and use the “Family and Friends” option to send to raise4reece@live.com.

Sep 062013
A. C. Crispin, beloved author of science fiction series Starbridge as well as many Star Trek novels, dead at 62.

A. C. Crispin, beloved author of science fiction series Starbridge as well as many Star Trek novels, deceased at age 62.

A.C. Crispin, prolific and much loved science fiction novelist and creator of the Starbridge series as well as a number of Star Trek books, and anti-scamming activist, co-founder of the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Writer Beware campaign, has passed away this morning after a prolonged battle with cancer.

She had posted farewells on the internet a few days ago:

I want to thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. I fear my condition is deteriorating. I am doing the best I can to be positive but I probably don’t have an awful lot of time left. I want you all to know that I am receiving excellent care and am surrounded by family and friends.


Jun 092013
ain Banks was best known for his novels 'The Wasp Factory', 'The Crow Road' and 'Complicity'

Iain Banks was best known for his novels ‘The Wasp Factory’, ‘The Crow Road’ and ‘Complicity’

The celebrated Crow Road novelist had announced he was suffering from the disease on April 3, saying he had less than a year to live and that his latest novel, The Quarry, would be his last.  Following his diagnosis Banks withdrew from all planned public engagements and married his long-term partner.  He has now died of cancer, at the age of 59.

The Quarry was begun by Banks in March after he’d been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer in March.  The book’s focus is on how its main character deals with the final weeks of his life after being told that he is terminally ill.

In a statement from his publisher Little, Brown said the following: “Banks has been one of the country’s best loved novelists for both his mainstream and science fiction books since the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory. Just three weeks ago he was presented with finished copies of his last novel, The Quarry, and enjoyed celebration parties with old friends and fans across the publishing world. Iain Banks’ ability to combine the most fertile of imaginations with his own highly distinctive brand of gothic humour made him unique. He is an irreplaceable part of the literary world.”

A message on the website set up to provide updates to family, friends and fans, quoted his wife Adele saying: “Iain died in the early hours this morning. His death was calm and without pain.”

Banks published his first novel The Wasp Factory in 1984 and his debut sci-fi title, Consider Phlebas, came three years later in 1987.

His novel The Crow Road, which opens with the memorable line “It was the day my grandmother exploded”, was adapted for a popular television series in 1996.

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Jun 052013
by staff writer Michael Brown

Chemotherapy is tough for anyone diagnosed with cancer, especially if that someone is a child. But the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil has teamed up with Warner Bros. (both clients of the worldwide ad agency JWT ) to create something truly… well… super… to help combat the most sinister villain of all.

From the ad agency press note:

Covers for intravenous bags were constructed based on characters from the Justice League, creating…. a child friendly version of the treatment. Co-developed with doctors, the covers are easy to sterilize and handle and meet all hospital hygiene standards. 

(The) experience went far beyond the covers by also providing a new look to the entire Children’s Ward: the game room was turned into the Hall of Justice, corridors and doors were decorated in the same theme, and the exterior acquired an exclusive  entrance for those little heroes.

enhanced-buzz-wide-21185-1370111429-14Along with the new “Superformula”, JWT even took an extra super leap and worked with Warner Bros. to produce a special series of comic books in which Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern go through experiences similar to those of kids with cancer, and recover their strength, thanks to the Superformula.

As any good cancer doctor will tell you, the most important step in fighting the disease is believing in a cure. And although it uses D.C. Comics characters, this heroic effort is a marvel, helping kids gain knowledge, courage, and faith in themselves– truly the ultimate super powers.

Read more about it on A.C. Camargo’s Superformula Initiative web site.

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