Kamiak student loses leg in cancer battle

Friends and Kamiak community helping the Park family
By Brandon Gustafson | Jun 27, 2018
Courtesy of: Kevin Pessoa Brian Park, 17, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, in March. He had to have most of his left leg amputated as a result of the cancer.

Brian Park suffered pain in his knee for a few months starting in December of 2017 before going to get it checked out.

Thinking it was something minor, Park, 17, went to multiple doctors, attended physical therapy, and even tried acupuncture. None of that helped. In fact, the pain got significantly worse.

Finally a doctor found the cause in March.

It was Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that is found in just 20,000 people per year in the United States.

Pessoa and another friend, Alvin Kwak, have been visiting Park, and organized a fundraiser through GoFundMe to help raise money for Park and his family, which consists of Park, his father, and his sister.

“I’ve known Brian for about three years starting with our freshman year,” Pessoa said. “This year, our junior year, I’ve gotten to know him much better through the classes we had together and through mutual friends.”

Pessoa said Park’s family’s struggles the last few months led him and Kwak to start the fundraiser.

“He was unable to attend school, and began treatment at Seattle Children’s,” Pessoa said. “Along with treatment, Brian’s dad had to stop working to take care of him, so his family lost its primary source of income.”

As of Tuesday, June 26, the fundraiser has raised over $14,000 in just 13 days, and has had over 200 people donate. The original goal of $5,000 was exceeded just days into the fundraiser.

Pessoa thinks Park has been handling the situation admirably.

“Brian went into chemotherapy, and treatment has been an uphill battle,” Pessoa said. “He went into numerous surgeries and even had a case where his lung collapsed, unrelated to the cancer itself. Even then, Brian stayed optimistic and kind despite his adversity.”

Unfortunately, chemotherapy failed to fully treat Park’s cancer, and he had to have his left leg amputated just above his knee.

“His amputation was on June 13,” Pessoa said, “and he had a first-time incident at Seattle Children’s where his regional anesthesia failed, and had to have an emergency surgery.”

Pessoa was able to visit Park the day after his amputation, and was shocked by his positive attitude.

“Even though he's been through the unimaginable, Brian has stayed optimistic, well humored, and powerful,” Pessoa said in an update on the GoFundMe page. “His nurses predicted he would need three days of rest after his amputation before he could walk. Brian walked on the second day after his amputation.”

Park has been undergoing testing and treatment for the last few weeks, and was unable to comment for this story, but Pessoa said Park is very thankful for the community helping his family through this tough financial time.

Park will be in recovery until late November, Pessoa said.

If you would like to donate to Park’s GoFundMe, visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-brian-park-fight-cancer.

 

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