Fighting for Robbie
May 5, 2016
Little Robbie Butler is a fighter.
He may only be four-years-old but the tiny tyke has already overcome more hardship than most people endure during the course of their entire lives. He was initially diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called AT/RT, Atypical Teratoid / Rhabdoid Tumor, in April 2014. After fighting for his life as only a toddler Robbie and his family believed they were through their ordeal but recent scans show that Robbie's cancer has returned. That doesn't stop him from smiling though.
"He's so happy all the time," said Robbie's mother Ashley Butler. "He's constantly smiling. He loves people and he loves interacting."
Following Robbie's initial cancer diagnosis the youngster endured multiple surgeries over the span of a few short weeks. He also underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and multiple radiation treatments; he was just two-years-old at the time.
After the tribulations of 2014 Robbie's scans showed no more cancer and the Butler family believed they had moved past the painful experience. "His scans had been clear," Ashley said. "Everything looked great. He was going to preschool, thriving."
But the relief and joy the Butler family felt was dashed just last month on April 14 when Robbie's parents, Rob and Ashley Butler, were informed that Robbie's recent MRI scan showed tumors had developed on his spine. One of which is putting his spinal cord at risk.
"If it wasn't for those scans I would not have known that anything was wrong," said Ashley. "He is no different that he was a month ago."
On Wednesday Robbie headed down to Denver with his family in preparation for a Thursday surgery and the beginning of radiation treatments on Friday for the tumors that pose the greatest threat to his spinal cord. Robbie will have to remain in Denver through the end of May as he receives ongoing treatments. After that though the family is left with difficult choices.
The Butler's are weighing potential options regarding additional radiation treatments or one of two chemo drug trials for AT/RT that will be conducted in Colorado. Ashley pointed out that Robbie does not have a guaranteed slot in the drug trials and if the family decides to go down the radiation treatment rout they will become ineligible to be a part of those trial studies.
The entire ordeal is especially hard on parents like Rob and Ashley Butler who are small business entrepreneurs. Rob and Ashley own and operate Lina's Pizza Napoletana in Granby, named after the couples elder daughter Angelina. Regular patrons to the restaurant are familiar with Robbie's smiling face. "We have people that come in just to see him, I swear," Ashley said. "He's always so excited to talk to them."
With Robbie's relapse the Butler's have been forced to close down Lina's for the time being. "We physically can't be there and we don't have the bodies to cover the hours to stay open." Ashley said. "That is our only source of income. We may not be open but we still have a months worth of bills."
Other bills such as travel expenses, housing costs, associated medicines and the unexpected also put severe financial strains on the already overburdened family. A crowdrise account has been set up for Robbie for donations and so far roughly $2,420 have been donated for Robbie's fight. But the Butler's have a long road ahead and without being able to operate their business the family's bills are likely to mount.
"We are so in limbo," Ashley said. "That is the toughest part, not knowing what we are doing next. We are hoping that by the time we get done with radiation we will have a next step."
Along with the crowdrise account the Butler's are planning a fundraising garage sale for May 28 and May 29 and a silent auction for Robbie's benefit will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on May 28 at the Church of the Eternal Hills. You can find Robbie's crowdrise page by going to http://www.crowdrise.com and searching "Fighting for Robbie". You can also find more out about Robbie's fight by going to the his Facebook page, "Fighting For Robbie: Robbie Butler's Prayer Page". Their crowdrise summary states, "Any help at all is appreciated! Be it financial, helpful information, a share or prayers!"