The price of survival

Esquimalt man raising funds for alternative cancer treatment

Tristan Taylor

Tristan Taylor

There are days when Tristan Taylor has to motivate his friends to get to the gym for their intense weight-training sessions.

“If it wasn’t for me being at the gym every day at 6 a.m., no one else would be either,” the 22-year-old says with a grin.

Those closest to the Esquimalt resident know him for his determination, which has helped him through some dark times after he was diagnosed, at 15 years old, with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that develops from nerve tissue.

“My cousin said he would have stayed in bed since the first diagnosis,” Taylor says.

“Determined and very committed,” says his mom, Marion. “He’s just very self-motivated.”

Doctors removed the malignant tumour, that was larger than a softball, from Taylor’s left side, but it came back and is spreading, despite several doses of chemotherapy and radiation.

“Neuroblastoma is highly aggressive and sneaky,” Taylor says of the disease which usually strikes children, not teens or adults. “Trillion to one chance that I’m sitting right here, or greater.”

He has been travelling for three years to the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton where he undergoes clinical trials. The cost is covered by B.C.’s medical service plan, and his flight is paid for by Canadian charity, Hope Air.

To date, the medicine hasn’t been able to fully penetrate his tumour and Taylor says the clock is ticking.

“They are just trying to mediate pain until my ultimate demise,” he says, matter-of-factly. “It’ll give me a few more years. I will still be eaten alive.”

That’s why he researches cancer treatments on his own, and is now hoping to try an alternative therapy at the Burzynski Clinic in Texas.

At $100,000, the treatment, including travel costs, is expensive. B.C.’s medical plan won’t cover it, prompting his friends and family to fundraise on Taylor’s behalf.

“I don’t have much time,” he says. “I’ve been fighting seven years, that’s two years longer than the average life expectancy (of a neuroblastoma patient).”

Dr. Sharon Allan, Taylor’s oncologist at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre in Victoria, declined to comment.

Donations can be made to the Tristan Taylor trust fund, No. 6545012, at any Coast Capital Savings branch. For details, please email mrtaylor64@hotmail.com or search for ‘Tristan Taylor Fundraising Page’ on Facebook.

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Concerned neighbours launches bottle drive for Esquimalt cancer patient

Neighbours are rallying to raise money for the 22-year-old Esquimalt man who needs $100,000 to pay for an alternative treatment he says could help him battle his neuroblastoma cancer.

Rita Sutton is hoping others will help Tristan Taylor, so she set up an account at the Westshore Return-It bottle depot, at 858 Esquimalt Rd. Refundable bottles and cans can be dropped off and the money donated to the Rita Sutton Funds for Tristan.

“Tristan has lived here for a number of years, and his mother is a very good member of the (housing) co-op, and we know the young man is suffering,” Sutton said. “We see the ambulance coming for him from time to time.”

Taylor said he is running out of time and options and hopes to undergo an alternative treatment at the Texas-based Byrzynski Clinic.