Brighton father will receive cancer treatment during shutdown

Brighton father will receive cancer treatment during shutdown

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BRIGHTON, Mich. (WJBK) -

The Brighton father who was denied a possible life-saving cancer treatment during the government shutdown will now receive the treatment.

Mark Howell, 31, was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma just two weeks after his son was born about a year ago. The cancer has continued to grow and spread, and Howell's body is not responding to chemotherapy. Doctors are recommending an aggressive procedure to attack the cancer that is only available at the National Institute of Cancer in Maryland.

The procedure is funded federally and became unavailable to Howell once the government shut down earlier this week.

"We were shocked," Howell's wife Christina tells Fox 2's Erika Erickson. Howell adds, "It was news to us when we found out that the place we were trying to go is now shut down, and not accepting new patients."

Howell and his family were ready to move on to 'Plan B,' a procedure at a cancer facility in Houston that is still more aggressive than chemo, but less aggressive than the procedure available in Maryland.

But now Howell's gleam of hope is back. After seeing Howell's story on Fox 2 Wednesday the community's support poured in.

That night Congressman Mike Rogers sent a letter to the director of the National Institute of Health.

 "Within two hours of that letter supposedly going out I had a phone call from Dr. Rosenberg, who's the treating physician at NCI that we wanted to see," Howell says. Then Senator Debbie Stabenow even gave him a call.

Howell and his wife describe the amount of concerns and support that poured in from fellow Fox 2 viewers: "Offering up advice, different treatment they're aware of, donations, just their prayers and thoughts, kind of all of the above. So it's been a very overwhelming few days for us in terms of support and love from everybody," Howell says.

Howell has an appointment Tuesday at the NCI.

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