Fight for Finn
(Hong Kong donors see below for more options)
When people ask me what the best thing about having Finn in our lives is, I can say with conviction that he can read a Beast Quest book while hanging upside down from a railing. Finn can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. This past Christmas – our lives were turned upside down – and we found ourselves at the start of a new quest facing the scariest beast we’ve yet encountered: cancer.
The first two weeks of December 2019 were busy and productive for Finn. His Year 8 teacher conferences went well, he played rugby twice a week for Football Club U14s, and had a run of eight performances as Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol. Our kid was thriving, achieving, annoying us endlessly…then the unexpected happened.
Finn the day he shaved his hair because it was falling out in clumps
On Thursday morning, two weeks before Christmas, Finn collapsed getting out of bed and hit his head hard on the tile floor. We took him to the North Lantau Hospital to check for a concussion. The X-ray showed no concussion, but the doctor noticed ominous shadows on his lungs and sent him to Princess Margaret Hospital for further investigation. The doctors recommended a PET scan and informed us that, in the public system, it would be a four to six month wait. They suggested that we could have the necessary PET scan sooner in a private hospital if we paid for it ourselves. We arranged the scan for the following day. Four days later we were called back to the hospital to be told that Finn has a tennis ball-sized tumor in his pelvis that had metastasized to his lungs. A biopsy concluded the final diagnosis: Finn has Stage IV Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive malignant cancer. The fight for Finn started.
Without knowing what it was, Finn had been feeling the tumor for about three weeks before the collapse. He had difficulty sitting comfortably, and he frequently lay on his back. We suggested that since Finn is 13 years old and over 178 cm (5’10’’) tall, the pain must be his muscles and tendons trying to catch up to his bones. We had booked a physio appointment to check it out but now Finn didn’t need the physio appointment. He needs so much more – and we need to move heaven and earth and do everything we can to give it to him. This is our quest.
Chemotherapy began four days later
Treating cancer is expensive. The average medical cost for cancer treatment (as per this link) in Hong Kong public and private hospitals ranges from HK$270,000 to HK$1,300,000 (this is equivalent to US$35,000 - US$170,000). The crucial PET scans alone cost upwards of HK$10,000 (US$1,300) each even in the public system. Money collected through the Fight for Finn campaign will go directly to supporting Finn’s medical costs, travel expenses, or even something special or creative that you might want for Finn himself. Just tell us.
Finn is being treated at the excellent Hong Kong Children's Hospital. While much of his treatment is covered publicly, we are being forced to use private hospitals for things like scans due to the urgency of his situation. And even public treatment mounts up to very significant amounts. This is going to be a long and drawn out fight. Finn’s chemotherapy programme alone is scheduled to extend through to the end of 2020.
After the first round of chemotherapy Finn will need another PET scan, and these will be needed every 6 weeks or so for the duration of the treatment. The situation is urgent and our only option is to do these PET scans in private hospitals due to the criticality of Finn’s care. Our challenge is to have the resources to ensure we can get Finn everything he needs to fight and survive.
Finn and our family are ready for the fight, and we are so grateful that so many of our friends and family want to help us. You have reached out to us asking how you can help – what we need to do is enable all the amazing medical professionals who are giving him the vital treatment he desperately needs. This is what will give Finn his best fighting chance. So we are asking for you to help contribute to the medical fees that will be extensive and ongoing. This is the best way all of us can help Finn get what he needs.
Of course we welcome all donations through Go Get Funding, but since the website fees plus card processing fees is around 7%, it would help us even more if you could transfer donations directly to Finn’s family’s account if possible:
Bank name: HSBC (004)
Account name: James Ryan Harper
Account number: 012-379376-833
PayMe/FPS: +852 64080125
Bank name: AIB
Account name: Elaine Morgan
IBAN: IE06 AIBK 9324 2618 1144 05
Bank name: CIBC (010)
Account name: James Ryan Harper
Email: [email protected]
More about Finn
Finn is a superb big brother. While forever being a good role model for his younger brother Shea, he has welcomed his new sister Cara to our family with open arms and an open heart.
Finn’s passions are reading, acting, and playing rugby.
He is an expert on Harry Potter trivia and loves stories with dragons. Luckily reading is one thing that he is still allowed to do as it is a solitary activity. Finn is restricted from going to public places because the chemotherapy has compromised his immune system.
Finn loves being on stage. He has performed for his school drama society as well as many productions for Faust International Youth Theatre. He has most recently portrayed Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol, Orlando in Rosaline, and Sir Andew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night. His weekly Faust acting lesson is a major highlight for Finn. Unfortunately, he is no longer able to attend these classes because of his cancer treatment.
Finn as Orlando in Rosaline
Finn last played rugby for the Football Club on 1 December. The tumor was bothering him (without him knowing what it was) but his love of playing the sport convinced him to play through the discomfort. One of his most motivating factors in fighting the cancer is to be able to get back on the pitch and fight for his teammates.
Finn breaking free and scoring a try in a rugby 7s match
Finn loves travelling. He missed his family holiday to Canada in December and will be unable to travel to Ireland this summer to see his extended family. With school he has travelled to China, Mongolia, and the Philippines. We have had to cancel his trip this year to Borneo that he was so much looking forward to.
Finn’s charming attributes include his love for animals. He loves his dogs Asha and Tramp. Last year he was delighted to be able to name a newly-born local water buffalo Ross and is continually concerned about the well-being of these creatures that roam near our family home.
Another special side of this most special of boys is his dedication to a charity that is close to our family’s hearts. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is dedicated to raising money for children’s cancer research in Hong Kong. At least one or more family member has shaved their head in support of St. Baldrick’s for the past 13 years – our dear Finn is a three-time shavee. Any money remaining at the end of treatment will go directly to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Finn, Ryan, and Shea shavees in 2017