An appeal has been launched to raise £500,000 to fund overseas treatment for a young cancer sufferer.
Little Callum Ingham has already undergone surgery and chemotherapy for the neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer. The eight-year-old is about to embark on a course of radiotherapy.
But should the battle be unsuccessful – and there is an 80 per cent chance of relapse – the family will have to look abroad, to the United States or Germany, for treatments not available here on the NHS.
“Callum is a real fighter and despite everything he’s been through he has never complained,” said his mum, Kim Ager, of Delph House, Parkwood Rise, Keighley.
“Even throughout all the chemotherapy he was his normal self and just kept smiling.
“We learned of the potentially life-saving treatments available abroad but these can cost upwards of £500,000 – it is a huge mountain to climb but we are desperate for Callum to have access to the best available treatment, wherever it may be and at whatever cost.
“However, we need people’s help as we can’t reach the target alone.”
The cancer was discovered in Callum, a pupil at Parkwood Primary School, Keighley, last summer.
He was suffering from stomach ache, which doctors put down to appendicitis. But when surgeons at Airedale Hospital prepared to remove his appendix, they discovered the real reason for the pain.
“They found a mass the size of three tennis balls which was pushing on his organs,” said Kim, 32.
“Callum was then whisked away to Leeds for lots of tests and doctors sat us down and warned that it could be a form of cancer, neuroblastoma. We had never even heard of it before. When it was confirmed we were devastated.”
Surgeons have removed the tumour but the outer edge is still active and further radiotherapy will begin next week at St James’ Hospital in Leeds.
“The past months have been a blur of hospitals and treatment,” said Kim, who with her partner Matthew Ingham, 35, has three other children – Megan, 14, Jordan, 13, and six-month-old Rylan.
The family has received support from the Families Against Neuroblastoma charity. A
spokesman said: “Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the nervous system which often occurs in the abdomen, usually from the adrenal glands.
A Just Giving website has been set-up at – justgiving.com/Callum InghamAppeal. Or people can donate by texting CALL77 and the amount, from £1 to £10, to 70070.
Several events are in the pipeline and fundraising merchandise, including T-shirts and wrist bands, has been ordered.