A BROOKLYN boy battling a rare inoperable brain tumor has inspired his school to rally around him with his steadfast will to live.
Josia Cotto’s determination to beat his disease has prompted classmates to help his family raise $100,000 for an experimental treatment they believe is his best chance for survival.
“I never see the kids at my school anymore, but I think about them,” the precocious 6-year-old told the Daily News.
“When I go back to school, I’m going to say, ‘Yay! I’m going back with my friends! I’m going to play!’ ” Josia said.
Diagnosed in August with pontine glioma, an inoperable brain tumor, Josia has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.
While the treatment has shrunk Josia’s tumor by up to 50%, the experimental therapy his parents insist he needs is not covered by their health insurance company.
The alternative therapy offered at the Burzynski Clinic in Houston uses antineoplastins — peptides and amino acids extracted from urine and blood and administered through an IV.
While clinical trials have shown promise, the American Cancer Society says the effectiveness of the therapy “remains uncertain.”
Chemo and radiation alone offer Josia a 6% chance to survive after five years. Josia’s father contends antineoplastins therapy will vastly improve his son’s odds.
“With this treatment, he’ll have a 26% chance of survival,” said Jose Cotto, who works for TD Bank.
So far, the family has raised about $25,000 for the alternative treatment, mostly with the help of Josia’s classmates, teachers and Clinton Hill neighbors.
Proceeds from the sale of winter concert CDs and T-shirts bearing Josia’s picture are boosting a fund set up for the boy.
Josia’s mom, Niasia Cotto, said her colleagues at Public School 159, where she’s a teacher, held a raffle and luncheon last month that raised $5,000 for her son.
“It’s amazing how they are opening up their hearts,” Niasia Cotto said.
Donations can be made to the A Life for Josia Foundation, P.O. Box 904, Union, N.J., 07083.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/family-friends-school-pulling-brave-brooklyn-boy-josia-cotto-battling-rare-brain-tumor-article-1.1034309#ixzz1oPYFe9Ac