8:15am Thursday 23rd January 2014
By Alistair Shand
An appeal has been launched to raise half a million pounds to fund overseas treatment for a young Keighley cancer sufferer.
Little Callum Ingham has already undergone surgery and chemotherapy for the neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer.
And 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 America 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.
“Even throughout all the chemotherapy he was his normal self and just kept smiling. We’re so proud of him.
“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’d never even heard of it before.
“When it was confirmed we were absolutely devastated. As realisation set in we felt sick – our little boy had cancer and it was the worst kind.”
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.
“Callum has had to endure extensive chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.
“It takes over your life, everything has had to revolve around Callum.
“We know there is a high chance of relapse but as a family we are trying to keep strong for him, as he has been so brave.”
The family has received support from the charity, Families Against Neuroblastoma (FAN).
A spokesman said: “Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the nervous system which often occurs in the abdomen, usually from the adrenal glands.
“Due to the aggressive nature of the disease it has an 80 per cent relapse rate and there is currently no relapse protocol in the UK. This means that should a child relapse, there may be no further options for them in this country.”
FAN is backing the family’s fundraising appeal, which has just begun but has already received over £220 in donations.
A Just Giving website has been set-up – justgiving.com/CallumInghamAppeal – or people can donate by texting CALL77 and the amount, between £1 and £10, to 70070.
Several events are in the pipeline and fundraising merchandise, including T-shirts and wrist bands, has been ordered.
For further information about neuroblastoma, visit familiesagainstneuroblastoma.org.
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