Haverhill man fighting rare form of cancer searching for alternative treatment

HAVERHILL, Mass. — We first met Chris Smith in April while he was receiving infusion treatment at Dana-Farber. His then-fiancée, Mariah, arranged a drive-by caravan to celebrate his 27th birthday while Chris watched from six floors up.

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Five months later, in September, Chris and Mariah got married. “We kind of feel like everything went downhill very fast after our wedding, when it was seeming to be looking up before all of that,” Mariah said.

When they returned home from their honeymoon the Smiths received the devastating news that the tumors on Chris’s spine were crawling back aggressively. “They told us that they don’t really think there’s a cure and they can give him the best quality of life for as long as possible,” Mariah said.

Chris is battling cancer for the third time. He was a pediatric patient at the Jimmy Fund Clinic and then last year doctors found tumors in his nose.

The cancer spread to his brain and spinal cord. “It’s hard because we hear the words rare so often, no playbook, we don’t know how to go by this. It’s definitely exhausting to hear those words over and over again,” Mariah said.

Chris has lost the ability to walk is now confined to a wheelchair, but he and his new bride aren’t giving up. They’ve launched a GoFundMe page to raise money in search of an alternative treatment. They say they will go anywhere that may offer any glimmer of hope. “Other doctors in different parts of the world might have experience with this that they just don’t here and that’s all we’re looking for to get that word out and as much information as we possibly can,” Mariah commented.

Chris will visit Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City next week to see if they can do anything more for him. The Smiths will also look into places in Mexico and Australia that may offer treatment, that the United States does not. The Smiths said any treatment overseas would cost out of pocket.