Benefit for Maloney twins Sept. 28
A benefit is being held for Gage and Jace Maloney, twin boys fighting cancer.
Gage and Jace Maloney were born Aug. 12 to parents Casey, 25, and Lynsey (Luhning), 22, Maloney of Deer Creek. Casey and Lynsey married Oct. 27, 2012 and are also parents to daughter Savannah, 20 months. The young parents first became aware of problems after a prenatal test showed that Lynsey was in danger of going into premature labor. Consequently, Lyndsey was placed on bedrest on May 6. Gage and Jace were born via c-section in Fergus Falls. Gage, the firstborn, weighed 5 lbs, 15 oz. Jace weighed 6 lbs., 1 oz. Other than the bedrest, the pregnancy was normal and the Maloneys were expecting healthy baby boys.
However, during the initial exam, the boys’ pediatrician noticed that jace’s abdomen was hard and an ultrasound confirmed the presence of a mass in his stomach. Jace was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in minneapolis that same day. As a precaution, doctors performed an MRI on Gage. A preventive ultrasound was ordered the next day since the babies shared a placenta. The Maloneys were devastated to learn that Gage had lesions on his liver. Gage was also airlifted to Children’s, where he joined his brother.
“I can’t even explain how we both felt that day. We didn’t have a clue what was in store, what everything meant, if our boys would be okay. Millions of emotions, rivers of tears, many prayers, many questions” said Lynsey.
After begging doctors, Lynsey was finally discharged later that afternoon and she and casey immediately drove down to be with their newborn sons. The following day began what would become an exhaustive round of tests. Both boys had biopsies of their livers and bone marrow. They both also had MIBG and bone scans that week.
Doctors believed both boys had neuroblastoma, a cancer most commonly found in infants and children under the age of 5. According to the Mayo Clinic, neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body and most commonly arises in and around the adrenal glands, which have similar origins to nerve cells and sit atop the kidneys. However, neuroblastoma can also develop in other areas of the abdomen and in the chest, neck and near the spine, where groups of nerve cells exist. Neuroblastoma can be hereditary, but often the cause is unknown.
Tests confirmed that Jace has a primary tumor as well as tumors in the liver. Gage just has tumors in his liver. The tumor in Jace’s abdomen is golf ball sized. It is suspected that Jace’s primary tumor metastasized to his liver as well as Gages liver through the placenta. The boys’ oncologist informed the Maloneys that their boys’ case would be only the tenth documented case in the world in which twins have neuroblastoma. The babies’ official diagnoses is Neuroblastoma Stage 4s.
Doctors planned to give eight rounds of chemotherapy to Gage and Jace over a period of approximately six months. Though just 10 days old, the boys began chemotherapy. Complications from the first round included a partial blockage in Gage’s intestine, two platelet transfusions and one blood transfusion for Gage and three platelet transfusions for Jace as a result of their blood counts bottoming out. As the boys’ blood counts recovered, the boys began gaining weight and handling the chemotherapy reasonably well.
Understandably, this unexpected illness has been stressful for the Maloneys. Lynsey is staying in Minneapolis at the Ronald McDonald house with the twins when they are not in the hospital for chemotherapy. Casey has been returning to their home to work during the week and travels to Minneapolis on the weekends to be with his wife and sons. Their daughter Savannah has been largely in the care of Casey’s grandparents, Ida and Arnold McLeod, in Hewitt. Casey tries to spend much of his time off work in the weekdays with Savannah and Savannah has been able to go to Minneapolis to see her mom and bond with her new brothers.
“Being away from her is probably one of the hardest things in this situation. When she comes and visit, we have fun and it’s hard to say goodbye. But having her here full time is just not doable right now. Hopefully after things settle down more she can be here more often” said Lynsey.
The Maloneys are slowly adjusting to what they call ‘their new normal.’ Though being away from home has been frustrating at times, they are developing a routine and are hopeful for the future.
“The prognosis is very good. From materials we’ve read and information from the doctors, the survival rate is 80 to 90 percent when found in the first year of life” say the Maloneys.
The benefit for the boys will be held Saturday, Sept. 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be a dinner, silent auction, and free will offering. Bracelets with the boys’ names are also being sold at Behliannos Take and Bake in Wadena. Proceeds from the benefit will go towards medical and living expenses for the family. The family has set up a caring bridge webpage for the boys for anyone wishing to follow their journey at www.caringbridge.org/visit/gageandjacemaloney.
Casey and Lynsey wish to thank their supporters.
“We are overwhelmed with all of the support from everyone near and far, and let me tell you, we feel it in our hearts. We have people praying from all over the US and sending us their well wishes. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everyones support. We are amazed at everyone from the community financially and emotionally.”