Trial Offers Hope for Child Cancer Sufferers
Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer that affects around 100 children the UK annually.
Neuroblastoma is also one of the most common childhood cancers in South Africa, and it can be very aggressive and hard to treat.
In early 2017, Luke Bell from Darlington began falling asleep in his school lessons, prompting his worried parents to rush him to the doctor.
Mark and Becky Bell thought their son may have had anaemia but it never crossed their minds that he would be diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer – just days later.
The shock diagnosis which left the family devastated marked the beginning of a year of extended hospital stays and gruelling treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
At the end of April, Luke was in the final stages of treatment and enduring what was believed to be his last round of immunotherapy when the Bells were given the devastating news that their little boy had relapsed, with scans showing a progression of his illness.
Friends and family embarked on various fundraisers in order to ease the financial burden associated with treatment and ensure Luke could access the required medical care.
Luke’s father, rugby player Mark Bell, said he had been blown away by the support received so far, adding that the family were trying to prepare as much as possible for the uncertain future ahead.
“This has been very difficult for him and he has hated staying in hospital and the treatments – in fact, if you even say the word treatment around him, you have to pay him a quid.
“Before the relapse, he had the most energy he’s ever had and it’s been a real kick in the teeth for us all but he’s taking it in his stride – his attitude is always ‘let’s just get on with it’.
“That attitude is strengthening the rest of us, knowing that he is prepared to take this fight on himself.
“Looking at what he’s been through, it’s incredible.”
If children with neuroblastoma relapse, many families are forced to go abroad for treatment. Fortunately Luke and others in the UK that has changed – the first ever transatlantic trial for the disease is now under way at the University of Southampton in the hope they can improve survival rates and be treated closer to home, and Luke is the first first patient to be signed on to the trial.
Channel 4 News went to meet Luke. Watch the video with Luke and his Dad HERE
Posted on 11 October, 2018, in Blog, News & Events and tagged cancer treatment, Child Cancer, childhood cancer, Fighting Cancer, Neuroblastoma, paediatric cancer, pediatric cancer awareness. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.