When three-year-old, Owen Langston, began experiencing neck pain and vomiting, his parents knew something wasn’t right. They took Owen to see his doctor where they were told Owen had a stomach virus so they returned home. But once at home, Owen fell ill again. This time his parents rushed him to the emergency room. During the doctor’s examination, Owen collapsed.
On May 2, 2016, Owen’s mother heard the dreadful news. “That day our world was turned upside down,” says Sarah Langston.
Doctors informed Owen’s parents they found a large mass in his head. The mass was a brain tumor called medulloblastoma, which often grows quickly and may spread to other parts of the body.
To treat the tumor, Owen underwent surgery followed by six months of chemotherapy.
Recurrence of medulloblastoma
Six months later during a routine scan, Owen’s parents were informed the cancer had returned. This time, Owen’s parents met with doctors at the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center where they explained the benefits of proton therapy treatment when treating medulloblastoma. Proton therapy is able to deliver high radiation doses directly to the brain tumor site, minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue.
“Owen’s age was a huge factor in determining what type of radiation we wanted to use. Proton therapy was so focused that we felt like it was the best solution to get rid of the cancer and preventing any long-term side effects,” Sarah says.
Finding support and dedication during treatment
“One of the PACU nurse came in to treat Owen. She told me her home was fine and later I learned her home was actually impacted,” Sarah says.
The Langstons were appreciative of the dedicated staff that put aside their own hardships to make their son’s treatment their priority.
“They made us feel at home and they took time to get to know us like a family member. They knew what was going on in our lives and we knew what was going on in their lives.”
Owen received a total of 30 treatments at the Proton Therapy Center.
Owen's love for trains
Once he completed treatment, Owen fulfilled his Make-A-Wish dream. He happily drove the train around the Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
Today, the five-year-old is busy teaching others about trains. He also loves spending time with one of his biggest supporters, his older sister Claire.
Owen’s age was a huge factor in determining what type of radiation we wanted to use. Proton therapy was so focused that we felt like it was the best solution to get rid of the cancer and preventing any long-term side effects.