Update Feb. 2017: After 4 1/2 years of stable scans, doctors found a new spot on Sean's brain at his regular MRI on February 2, 2017. At the next scan just three months later, it had doubled in size, so his heartbroken family is once again in search of the best treatment options for this amazing, brave little boy. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sean Ries is the youngest son of Brenda and Richard Ries. Sean turned 5 years old on Valentines Day 2012.
Sean has a sparkling personality, gives great hugs, and is quite an aspiring athlete. He loves video games, dinosaurs, the Yankees, and doing anything with his big brother Brian. Sean also loves school and has a great circle of friends.
On February 6, 2012, Sean was diagnosed with a 5 cm tumor in the left side of his brain. He underwent biopsy surgery the next day to diagnose the tumor, determined to be a low-grade glioma (further classified later as a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor or DNET). Early indications were that further surgery was not an option given the size and location of the tumor in his speech and motor centers.
The first clue that there was anything wrong was on February 2, 2012 when Sean had what could only be described as a small seizure. It was such a brief/minor event, Brenda and Richard weren't even sure that's what it was. Unfortunately, subsequent to the diagnosis his seizures continued to increase and become more debilitating, despite the multiple medications he was taking to try and control them.
Brenda and Richard sought second opinions on appropriate treatment options from some of the best hospitals in the northeast and across the country. After weeks of consults and additional testing, the decision was made to treat Sean under the care of a team of doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)& Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Next steps included a two-phase surgery in May 2012. The first surgery was to place a grid of electrodes directly on the surface of his brain, allowing doctors to map his speech and motor functions over the course of several days, and determine if there was a "safe" way to remove any portion of the tumor without inflicting neurological injury. In the second surgery, guided by the mapping data they had obtained, doctors were able to successfully remove about 80% of the tumor.
At this time Sean's treatment does not require chemotherapy or radiation. The plan for now is "active surveillance" which means MRI's at MSKCC every 3 months to watch for any changes in the tumor that remains before pursuing additional treatment.
We all Pray for healing hands on this precious little boy!!!