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7th-grader fighting rare cancer usually found in men in their 40s

By Lori Prichard | Posted - Nov. 24, 2011 at 5:08 p.m.

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SYRACUSE -- A Syracuse boy is facing a rare and aggressive type of cancer. It's a type of cancer that typically strikes men in their 40s and, unfortunately, the treatment is targeted to that age group, as well.

Brandon Winger's family, though, remains hopeful, optimistic and thankful for the time they have together.

Brandon, 12, was a healthy boy when he was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma last March.

"Usually, spindle cell tumors are found in men who are 40 and older," said Kathy Winger, Brandon's mother.

Brandon underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation only to receive more bad news a month later. "We had gotten the call [from doctors]. They had found some spots in his lungs, his kidneys and his liver," Winger said.

Brandon was later diagnosed with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, MPNST. He continues to undergo radiation and chemotherapy every two weeks.

"The Tuesday after Thanksgiving he will have his first scan after having chemo and radiation," Winger said. "We're just hoping for better results."

In the meantime, the seventh-grader keeps up with school work through classes online. "He can go to school when he's well and he can do work at home on the computer when he doesn't feel well or we take it to chemo and he can do it on the computer," his mom said.

What Brandon cannot do is play football, a sport he loves.

"This is the first summer he hasn't been able to play football. That broke his heart," she said.

Despite being tired from chemotherapy, Brandon tries to stay active playing with his brother and five sisters. He was also able to go hunting with his father through Hunt of a Lifetime.

"Brandon came home that night and he still had a smile on his face," his mom said. "He said that his cheeks hurt so much because he could not quit smiling. At least while he was hunting, he could forget for a little while that he had cancer."

To keep that smile on his face, Saturday, Dec. 3, a community fundraiser is being held for Brandon by Anything for a Friend. The event is being held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Syracuse Community Center, located at 1912 W. 1900 South in Syracuse.*

Though Brandon's family does have health insurance, their coverage does not pay for all his medical expenses.

--- * has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


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Lori Prichard


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