CANTON - When he was eleven, doctors told Travis M. Gilbert that he would not make it to his 15th birthday. Last week, the now 16-year-old, received his drivers permit.
In 2007, Mr. Gilbert was diagnosed with pineal blastoma, a brain tumor. The doctor told him he would have a week to a month to live. Despite those odds, Mr. Gilbert has been undergoing treatments for almost five years.
He hasnt been able to attend school and cant do a lot of activities that normal kids get to do, said Nancy J. Mehaffy-Carpenter, Mr. Gilberts mom. But he remains positive and always wears a smile.
Mr. Gilbert began radiation therapy from January to September in 2008.
When his tumor returned in September 2011, Mr. Gilbert could not receive any more radiation, but began Chemotherapy instead. The doctors have also attempted a new treatment. A revolutionary stem cell transplant from Mr. Gilberts own bone marrow was transplanted in the hopes of eradicating the tumor completely.
I believe its going to work and the doctor seems very positive, said Mrs. Mehaffy-Carpenter. Usually patients cannot use their own stem cells, but Travis is progressing nicely.
Mrs. Mehaffy-Carpenter said once Travis is in remission, he is hoping to play soccer, ride snowmobiles and his four-wheeler and spend time with his three siblings.
But Mr. Gilbert still has another 12 weeks of treatments and checkups before he begins the road to remission, Mrs. Mehaffy-Carpenter said.
The expense of traveling to Buffalo, five hours from their home in Ogdensburg and extended hotels stays has placed a financial burden on the family. Mrs. Mehaffy-Carpenter, a stay-at-home mother who devotes herself full-time to Travis care, said expenses add up quickly.
Living in the north country I find it very difficult to obtain services, she said. And because were not residents of Buffalo we dont have access to a lot of the benefits available down there.
The family has set an account for Mr. Gilbert at Community Bank. For those who would like to donate, visit Community Bank and ask to make a deposit in the Gilbert/Carpenter name.