14-month-old battling cancer brings attention to funding gap

14-month-old battling cancer brings attention to funding gap

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Across the world a child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes and the Feeney family knows that struggle so well. At just 14 months old their son Stanley, nicknamed,"Stoshy," is in a fight for his life.

Stoshy was diagnosed with Leukemia on December 17, 2015. His illness has been a difficult transition for the family of four that travels to Cleveland Clinic twice a week for the child's chemotherapy treatments.

"No one wants to see their baby like this," said Stoshy's mother Kristina Feeney.

Infant leukemia patients like Stoshy are rare, but the cancer is curable with aggressive treatment according to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic Children's hospital. 

However, Stoshy's Doctor Elian Buhtoiarov says treatments for childhood cancer patients are limited.


"Some of the treatments that became available for adult patients are not available for pediatric patients," said Dr. Buhtoiarov.

Dr. Buhtoiarov points to a gap in funding that shows cancer treatments for children don't measure up to what's available to adults.

Just four percent of US federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research according to the St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization dedicated to cancer research.

"When you spread that around it's just not enough," said Kristina Feeney.

The Feenley's explain that Stoshy's illness has also caused a financial hardship. Both parents have had to cut back on working, and there were other unforeseen costs to having a sick child such as travel and other medical expenses.

"It's been tough, it's been really tough," said Father Joseph Feeney.

Fortunately support from family and strangers have poured in for the Feenley family on social media with the hashtag #StoshyStrong.

Loved ones also started an online fundraiser to help with the family's expenses and it quickly collected close to $2,500—half of the $5,000 goal.

Doctors believe after three years of treatment Stoshy will be cured, but his parents want all children to have that opportunity at life. They hope that Stoshy's story will encourage people to donate to organizations that are focused on fighting childhood cancers.

"You don't want to wait until it's your kid I wish I would've known before," said Kristina Feeney.

Follow Cleveland 19 News:  

Download the Cleveland 19 News app

Copyright 2016 WOIO. All rights reserved.