Maggie Mohseni (right) is trying to raise money for her best friend

Brain tumour takes a financial toll on Chilliwack family

Chilliwack resident Raj Bining was given two months to live after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her best friend refuses to accept it.

Maggie Mohseni is desperate to save her best friend’s life.

Two months ago, Raj Bining, 38, was given a death sentence. A recurring brain tumour had come back; the mother of two young daughters had just two months to live.

But her best friend refused to accept it.

“I wasn’t going to accept it,” she said. “Raj has always been there for me, and I’m going to fight right beside her with everything I have.”

First up, raising enough funds to continue an alternative cancer treatment not funded by the provincial or federal government.

Bining is undergoing oncotherm loco-regional hyperthermia treatment at the Integrated Health Clinic Cancer Care Centre in Fort Langley.

Oncothermia, which was founded in Germany 20 years ago, utilizes heat as a means of therapy by pumping a radio frequency current through the area containing the cancer. The elevated temperature is meant to attack the cancer cells, or control the tumour from growing or spreading.

But it’s not cheap.

The recommended six-month therapy regime is $425 plus HST per session, three times a week, totaling more than $34,000. Add to that additional medicine costing $130 per month, and an assortment of enzymes costing $400 a week.

Bining has enough funds for just six treatments.

“I have no income,” she said. “I haven’t worked for two years.”

And while she doesn’t know if six weeks or six months will make a difference, she’s desperate.

Bining was diagnosed with her first brain tumour in 2008, which came back benign. She was told not to worry about it; it wasn’t dangerous. A follow-up appointment a year later confirmed that decision.

“They told me there was nothing there, I was tumour-free,” said Bining, remembering the relief and excitement she felt hearing those words.

But in 2010, just a few months after giving birth to her youngest daughter, Bining developed a persistent sinus infection. She was sent for a CT scan which revealed a cancerous tumour in her brain.

Her oncologist was optimistic, though, sure she would beat the cancer.

Bining had surgery to remove the tumour in March and before starting on a six-month treatment of radiation and chemotherapy a month later, she was sent to a fertility clinic in Vancouver to save a sampling of her eggs.

She still wanted another child.

But on February 17, just one month after she’d finished chemo, and one month after her seven-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Bining’s dreams of a future, of seeing her daughters grow up, of growing old with her partner came to a crashing halt.

The tumour was back and there was nothing – no options, no alternatives, no trials – that could save her. The oncologist told her she could buy a couple of months with more chemo, but that was it.

“I was a mess,” she said.

But a fellow patient in the oncology ward, who also had a malignant tumour, gave her a glimmer of hope. The patient told her about oncothermia and about the positive results she was experiencing. When Bining broached the idea with her doctor, she was told to go for it, she had nothing to lose.

Except financially.

Bining’s finances are tapped out, her partner is working out of town to support the family, and her extended family has given all they can.

Bining’s oldest daughter wrote a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking for help, but has yet to receive a response. Mohseni hopes Chilliwack will step up.

“She needs help,” said Mohseni.

“If the doctor’s predictions are right, her daughter [who turns eight at the end of this month] will be going to her mom’s funeral on her birthday – that can’t happen.”

For more information, visit the website www.itbreaksmyheart.com, or to donate, contact Raj Bining at rajbining@gmail.com.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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