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Runaway, 16, Calls to Say He Does Not Want Cancer Drugs

November 06, 1994| From Associated Press

BOSTON — Nine days after running away from home because of painful cancer treatments, 16-year-old Billy Best called his parents from Texas to say he's OK.

He also said he's not ready to come home, that he needs more time to himself.

"He said he still feels like (the medication) is killing him and he doesn't want to do it," Billy's father, William, said Saturday.

The call from Billy late Friday, and two calls early Saturday from people he met on his trip, helped unravel the mystery of his whereabouts since he ran away Oct. 26.

Two weeks earlier, the high school junior was told that the chemical and radiation treatments for his cancer, Hodgkin's disease, would have to continue.

"The reason I left is because I could not stand going to the hospital every week," Billy wrote in a note he left for his parents. "I feel like the medicine is killing me instead of helping me."

Hodgkin's disease is a cancer of the body's lymphatic system, which is used to fight infection. While the disease is fatal if untreated, doctors say that up to 80% of its victims are deemed cancer-free if they undergo full chemical and radiation treatments.

Dr. Cliff Takemoto, who had been treating Billy, said that without continued treatments, Billy's cancer would worsen. But he also said the treatment can be modified.

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