OTTAWA, Nov. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Steven Croucher is like any other 19 year-old. He goes to school, likes to hang out with his friends and see movies. The difference is Steven does all these things in pain.
Diagnosed when he was young with neurofibromatosis, Steven lives with neuropathic pain every day. A genetic disorder, neurofibromatosis causes tumours and lesions to grow on or within the body where nerves are present. At the age of 9, doctors discovered a tumour on Steven's brain stem - he needed multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
Treating Steven's brain tumour was not without cost. He was left with some balance issues and neuropathic pain, a type of chronic pain caused by nerve damage. But Steven has tackled his health issues head on, inspiring his family with his positive attitude.
"I was devastated when I found out, we knew it was a serious genetic condition," said Gina, Steven's mother. "But Steven has inspired me because he is always so upbeat and positive."
Looking forward is the only option for Steven, who is focusing on his studies with the goal of becoming a psychologist. "I have good days and bad days," says Steven. "There are times when I feel like relaxing but I can't because I have to keep going and study. And there are times when my body just stops."
Research into new medicines has helped Steven stay focused and work through his pain. "If I didn't have these medicines I would feel a lot more pain than I do regularly. It helps me focus and concentrate because the pain is less."
Steven started taking pain medication at the age of 10 and continues to work with his doctor to try new medications as they are discovered, find the right dose and combination to keep his pain at bay. But it's not enough for him or his parents.
"Researchers need to keep working on this," says Gord Croucher, Steven's father. "There's always a need to improve, and what works in one person doesn't necessarily work in others."
Steven finds hope in others who have lived through illness, including his hockey hero Saku Koivu. Both were given the same treatments and Koivu's success in beating cancer was an inspiration to Steven. "When I was in the hospital I was able to meet Saku and it gave me hope," says Steven who wants to help others in the same way. "I think if I didn't have pain I could help others too."
Steven's parents are confident their son will continue with his studies and tackle the obstacles in front of him. Research into new pain medications is a part of that future, one that will help him live a normal life. "It would help to have something that works better than what I have now; not only for me, but for others who need this medication too."
Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents the men and women working for more than 50 member companies and invests more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.
Video with caption: "Video: Steven Croucher is 19 years old and lives with constant neuropathic pain.". Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxb9nEpOIBM&feature=plcp
Image with caption: "Steven Croucher is 19 years old and lives in Montreal with his parents Gord and Gina. As a child, Steven was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis - a condition that has caused tumors to grow in his brain. The result is constant pain all over his body. (CNW Group/CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX&D))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121105_C4819_PHOTO_EN_20151.jpg
Image with caption: "Steven goes to school, plays sports and tries to lead as normal a life as he can. His condition however, means that he is in constant pain. He adheres to a regime of medication that allows him to function relatively normally. Sometimes the pain leaves him exhausted and unable to focus. (CNW Group/CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX&D))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121105_C4819_PHOTO_EN_20152.jpg
Audio with caption: "Steven's parents talk about the effect that his illness has had on the family. His mother Gina remembers the day they found out that Steven had tumours on his brain, and they were told that his life would be a constant struggle with pain management.". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/11/05/20121105_C4819_AUDIO_EN_20154.mp3
Audio with caption: "Steven describes his hopes for the future - to lead a normal life with no pain. He says he waits and hopes for a brilliant scientist to discover a treatment that will alleviate his pain for good.". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/11/05/20121105_C4819_AUDIO_EN_20155.mp3
SOURCE: CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX&D)
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