Families with children fighting cancer see fewer health care options amid coronavirus pandemic

Some children may not be able to get the treatment they need. A big impact is onthat the clinical trials are not being conducted right now.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Concerns over the coronavirus are having a big impact on families in Central Florida with children who are battling cancer.

The pandemic has change some treatments and could mean some kids may not get the treatment they need.

One impact is potentially lifesaving clinical trials aren't being done. But even if families find a trial that could save their child's life, many places that typically give families a place to stay for weeks at a time, like a Ronald McDonald House, aren’t taking in new families right now.

Content Continues Below

WFTV reported last year on the successful search for a bone marrow donor and the treatment for 4-year-old Chloe Bella Carvahlo, who was diagnosed with JMML, a very rare type of leukemia.

She's in remission now, but treatment and research related to childhood cancer is now taking a big hit with the worldwide concerns over the coronavirus.

Kelly King, with Cannonball Kids' Cancer, said at least two groups they work with have stopped clinical trials.

“The types of research that Cannonball Kids' Cancer is funding are the types of research that are really for kids who are on their last option,” King said.

That means kids who haven't responded to other treatments or who have relapsed are looking for a last chance treatment to save their lives. Now, that may not happen.

“I cannot imagine what that would feel like to just sit at home and know there's a drug that could potentially save my child's life right now, but he just can't have it,” King said.

It's a tough reality that families are now facing.

“If there was no bone marrow transplant there would be no option,” Chloe's mother, Nayara Hermes, said. “If the transplant doesn't work, there's nothing else that can be done.”

Trials are important for Chloe, even though she's in remission. Her mom said the chemotherapy she's supposed to begin will likely be pushed back because of concerns about COVID-19 and her weakened immune system.

Lab research related to pediatric cancer is also being interrupted, which could set the research back a long time because they may have to start some tests over.