No family likes to suffer a bout of the flu, but when your youngest child is already facing a lengthy and complicated medical situation, even a flu bug can bring added stress to the family.
That's just what happened recently to Billy Biviano, of Millstone, a 16-month-old boy diagnosed with a complicated and rare brain tumor, when his family came down with the sickness.
According to family friend Carolyn Tighe, Billy spent three nights at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center as doctors made certain the fever and flu didn't cause further problems — it didn't, but may have delayed one of the youngster's chemotherapy treatments.
"His current regimen is chemotherapy, one day a week for 10 weeks — he has completed five so far," Vincent Biviano, Billy's father, said before the flu hit the family. Biviano said Billy's treatments change after he completes this cycle and takes a four-week break, but for now, the schedule is daunting.
Little Billy's tumor is inoperable — it's too entangled in his growing brain to be easily removed, so doctors are trying to minimize its growth or impact.
"Until he's old enough to try a more radical treatment like radiation therapy, chemotherapy is the only course of action for the foreseeable future," Biviano said.
While Billy's family — which includes Billy's twin brother Michael and an older brother, Joey, and mother Kristy—takes care of making the appointments, his larger "family" is busy working to help raise money to help defray some of the medical expenses.
Tighe created a webpage on GoFundMe! for Billy, where people can make secure, online donations, and she and family friends Courtney Newman and Cynthia Hoens are helping organize several local fundraisers, including:
- Applebee's in Hillsborough will donate proceeds from a special breakfast events scheduled for 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. March 9. For a $10 donation, participants can enjoy a full breakfast.
- Through the month of February, Renaissance Hair Salon in Hillsborough will be donating 25 percent of all products and services with a coupon available on Billy's Steps Forward webpage.
- A 5K event is being organized for Sept. 29, in association with the Steeplechase Cancer Center's Steeplechase Distance Run.