A local boy diagnosed in December with an aggressive form of cancer that forms in the nervous tissue of young patients has received support from far and wide, and Atchison area supporters gathered this week to help out.
The family of Abel Portenier, 2, learned on Dec. 13, 2019, and in subsequent days that the boy is suffering from high-risk stage L2 neuroblastoma. Though rare and nigh-impossible to predict, according to online Mayo Clinic information, the mutation associated with the disease usually affects patients before the age of five.
The tumor is currently inoperable, according to information posted online by the family, but a regimen of chemotherapy among other treatments could shrink the neoplasm to the point where it can be removed by surgery. The current treatment plan is expected to last about 18 months, according to the family.
On Wednesday at a gathering and benefit silent auction held at Snow Ball, parents Jake and Jaysha Portenier said Abel, a “real trooper,” is adapting well to his treatment. Jake serves with Atchison County EMS, and Jaysha is an ER nurse, so they have each dealt with a variety of childhood ailments before.
During this trying past month, help from others has been crucial for Jake, Jaysha, and Abel’s older sister, five-year-old Audrey.
“Between donations, Christmas presents, helping clean our home and take care of our pets, the raffles, benefits, personal messages and well wishes ... I wish I could thank everyone individually, because you all truly help us keep going,” Jaysha wrote in an online journal entry about Abel’s care. “Like, I’m talking hundreds, if not thousands of people have touched our lives over this last month.”
Abel’s grandmother, Laura, said the community’s support has been “unreal.”
“All of the messages and prayers have been pretty much the only reason we have been able to do this,” she said. “We have reached out to every church, every religion, every denomination for prayers. Prayer is prayer, God is always listening, and we truly believe that.”
The Children’s Mercy Kansas City Oncology Center is leading Abel’s treatment. For more information on how to help the Portenier family, visist www.caringbridge.org/visit/abelportenier.