$70,000 raised for aspiring Kamloops doctor facing rare form of cancer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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$70,000 raised for aspiring Kamloops doctor facing rare form of cancer

Joshua Yoneda was diagnosed with Grade 4 Spinal Cord Glioma during his final year of medical school at UBC.
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A huge amount of support from the community will give an aspiring Kamloops doctor a better chance of beating an extremely rare form of cancer.

Joshua Yoneda is in his final year of UBC medical school and is focused on becoming a doctor in Kamloops. He was first diagnosed with cancer in August but it was another three months before doctors were able to figure out that it was Grade 4 Spinal Cord Glioma, according to a GoFundMe arranged by his sister Marissa Yoneda, who said there have only ever been 28 other people worldwide with the same condition.

One day while on rotation at the Royal Columbian Hospital as part of his program, Joshua began having trouble walking. He went to have an MRI scan and discovered there was a 26-millimetre mass on his spinal cord with bone lesions.

It’s difficult for doctors to gain an understanding of a disease that has impacted so few patients so there are no standard guidelines for treatment regimens, Marissa said on the fundraiser page. However there are two types of treatments available in Canada and Joshua began chemotherapy after he was diagnosed.

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“What was once thought to be a slow-growing cancer, was now an aggressive tumour that was even more rare than we thought,” Marissa said. “The initial diagnosis was wrong.”

She said the family is hopeful and is researching other clinical trials from across the globe. The purpose of the fundraiser is to “help Joshua receive the best possible care and propel future cancer research in this field."

There has been an outpouring of support since the fundraiser began earlier this week – more than 600 people have donated $70,000 as of Dec. 18.

Joshua has been continuing with school since he received the diagnosis. His sister says he finds solace in helping others, and enjoyed working at the rehabilitation centre at Vancouver General Hospital as well as a family practice clinic.

“This speaks to the type of person Joshua is, where even in moments of pain, he still continued to push through to help others.”

At an early age, the Yoneda siblings lost their father to cancer, who was a doctor in Kamloops for more than 20 years.

“After losing our father, Joshua became the rock of our family, he became my biggest role model and my best friend,” Marissa said. “All I have ever wanted to be, is to be like my brother Joshua.”

Before starting medical school at UBC, Joshua graduated from Thompson Rivers University and majored in Cellular Molecular Microbial Biology.

Anybody who would like to support Joshua’s recovery can do so through this link.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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