Friday, October 7, 2016

Speak Out focuses on a baby with medical challenges - By Lorraine Glowczak

Senator Bill Diamond’s monthly Speak Out on Channel 7 is up and running again after a summer long hiatus. On Thursday, September 29th in the Windham Town Hall Chambers, Senator Diamond and his co-host, Raelene Loura, welcomed special guest, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. The hour long program began with discussion of the six ballot questions that will appear on the November 8th referendum ballot. Although the importance of informing and educating the public on the ballot issues is imperative in the voting process, the second portion of Speak Out held no less importance. 
Senator Diamond and co-host Loura highlighted a young member in the community, an 8-month-old local Windham child, who is facing medical challenges. They made a plea to the Greater Windham area to help the young family with the medical expenses they are now facing.

Nolan Desmond was recently diagnosed with Bilateral Retinoblastoma, a type of cancer that forms tumors on the retina of the eye, in Nolan’s case, both eyes.

Baby Nolan was born in February 2016 to loving parents Matt Desmond and Brittany Bateman, both graduates of Windham High School. According to the gofundme website, created by Desmond’s brother, Jon, Nolan’s parents noticed that his eyes would irregularly flutter and roll. In the beginning, doctors attributed the flutters to extreme acid reflux. However, at his routine 6-month check-up, a nurse noticed something unusual and sent the family to an eye specialist. It was at this appointment that the tumors were discovered and Nolan was directed to a specialist in Boston who confirmed the diagnosis. It was discovered that Nolan had a 7 to 8 mm tumor in each eye.

“The tumors were at a grade D level,” Nolan’s father explained. “The next step up, grade E, would require removal of the eye. Our doctors in Boston stated that Nolan’s tumors were the most complicated cases they had ever seen.” 

After exploration, four other tumors were discovered, but they were small enough to be frozen and removed with laser treatments.

Baby Nolan has begun his six months of chemotherapy along with continuing laser treatments on newly formed tumors. “But we have some good news,” Nolan’s father revealed with excitement, “Due to the chemo therapy treatments received thus far, the tumors have shrunk to half their original size.” However, chemotherapy treatments will continue as will the medical expenses. The costs not only include the treatments, but travel, hotels, food, and absence of income due to missing work.

Jon Desmond explained in the gofundme website, “The next 6 months are going to be a trying time for this young family. I know nothing is going to make this easier for them, but maybe we all can make it so that they at least don't have to worry about where money will come from for travel, hotels, food, missing work and medical costs.

So far, the gofundme website has raised a little over $14,000. “I am very proud to be a part of a community who comes together to help each other in times of need,” Senator Diamond stated as he was nearing the end of the first of his Speak Out series.

For those who wish to make a donation, go to either the website created by Jon Desmond at www. or make a donation when recycling bottles and cans at Patman’s Redemption Center, 95 Tandberg Trail in Windham.

Senator Diamond’s next Speak Out is set for Thursday, October 27th at the Windham Town Hall Chambers from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will be aired on Channel 7. All are welcomed to join the Speak Out audience in person at the town hall chambers.

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