Father runs around hospital for 4-year-old son with cancer

There were two thoughts pushing Kolt Codner forward in his first marathon race: his 4-year-old son Andrew’s fight against cancer and the hospital that provides him care.



a group of people in a park: An Ohio dad ran his first marathon to support his son fighting cancer and raise money for Akron Children's Hospital.


© Courtesy Akron Children’s Hospital
An Ohio dad ran his first marathon to support his son fighting cancer and raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital.

Codner, of Poland, Ohio, ran 26.2 miles around Akron Children’s Hospital on October 17 to raise money for the hospital treating his son, who has 26 months left in his treatment.

In early May, Codner and his wife Tristan received a phone call that Andrew had a bed waiting for him in the hematology and oncology unit of the hospital.

A day that began as a visit to the pediatrician for Andrew’s swollen face had resulted in a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common childhood cancer.

Codner’s run served to show his appreciation to the hospital staff that has turned a traumatic experience like cancer treatment into one his young son faces bravely, Codner says.

“The folks at Akron Children’s have taken something that should be scary and terrifying and made it this amazing badge of honor to recognize the superhero that he is,” Codner told CNN. “We couldn’t think of a better thing to contribute to and spend time trying to help raise funds to ensure that all kids have access to the same amazing experience as Andrew has had at Akron Children’s.”

Codner participated in the race as part of the virtual FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay, which replaced the hospital’s yearly marathon due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the virtual marathon guidelines, runners can race at any location or pace, and Codner decided to run his marathon around the hospital to spotlight their work.

On the day of the race, Codner wrote Andrew’s name on the top of his running shoes to keep him motivated. Friends and family were stationed outside the hospital to cheer him on, in a course that took 5 hours and 35 laps to complete. His son was even able to run with him across the finish line and award him a medal.

“To see him running and doing that last lap with me was just incredible,” Codner said.

By the end of the run, Codner had raised 10 times more than his initial goal of $1,000, according to a hospital press release. The fund has reached over $13,000 in donations and has expanded its window until November 30.

Dr. Megan Sampson, a pediatric oncologist who has treated Andrew at the hospital, praises the Codner family.

“It just amazed me that during this scary time that he was thinking about doing this,” said Sampson, referring to Codner’s run and the attention he has drawn to the hospital’s work.

Andrew’s prognosis is good and he’s responding well to the treatment he has received, but he still has a long way to go, Sampson says.



Kolt Codner's son awards him with a medal after completing his marathon to raise money for Akron Children's Hospital.


© Courtesy Akron Children’s Hospital
Kolt Codner’s son awards him with a

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As COVID-19 cases spike, pneumonia vaccine demand rockets and Europe runs low

By Emilio Parodi, Ludwig Burger and Michael Erman

MILAN/FRANKFURT/NEW YORK (Reuters) – As COVID-19 infections rise, people seeking to avoid one lung disease compounding another are queuing up to get inoculated against bacterial pneumonia, causing shortages of a Merck & Co <MRK.N> vaccine in parts of Europe.

Demand for Merck’s Pneumovax 23, which is used to prevent pneumococcal lung infections, has hit record highs across the world, the company said.

More than 40 companies and researchers are testing vaccines against the novel coronavirus, but none have been approved in the West.

In the meantime, doctors are giving the pneumonia shot to more people than ever as a preventative measure.

Pneumococcal prevention, the largest segment of the vaccine market by value, rang up about $7 billion in sales in 2019, contested by Pfizer <PFE.N>, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline <GSK.L>.

Pfizer’s Prevenar 13, known as Prevnar 13 in North America, is the global market leader, and brought in about $5.8 billion in sales in 2019. It works for both infants and the elderly but it covers fewer bacterial strands than the Merck product.

GSK’s Synflorix is designed for children.

Usage differs by country, but Pneumovax 23, which lasts about five years, is primarily given to the elderly.

“During the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, there has been increased emphasis on adult vaccination, and we have seen an unprecedented surge in demand for Pneumovax 23 around the world,” a Merck spokesman told Reuters in an email.

Pneumovax 23’s international sales more than doubled to $96 million in the second quarter, though U.S. sales fell substantially, according to the quarterly report.

The U.S. drugmaker is working to make as much as possible, but demand is outpacing supplies in some markets, the spokesman added.

And supplies in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Ireland and Austria are running low, according to drug agencies monitoring supplies for those countries.

The news is likely to stoke worries about the availability of medicines as people seek ways to boost their immunity during the cold winter months.

Stocks of seasonal flu vaccine are also low in some European cities amid worries about the risk of a potentially lethal “twindemic”.

Delfino Legnani, professor at Milan University, said he has been recommending the Pneumovax 23 shot to his older patients for years, but some have only been willing to get it for the first time this winter.

“It is practically impossible to find. Now everyone wants it, so there aren’t enough doses,” he said.

Italy’s drug agency listed the drug as being in short supply and has authorised pharmacies to buy supplies from abroad approved under a special marketing authorisation scheme.

There are no signs of supply issues in the United States.

RATIONING

Other countries are feeling the pinch too.

Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority said on its website an unexpected increase in demand had caused a shortage since March and that multiple countries were affected.

Its Belgian equivalent also said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global increase in demand for

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