Saturday, 20 July 2019

Good news for boy after cancer treatment

Good news for boy after cancer treatment

A BOY’S specialist cancer treatment in Turkey has been successful.

Charlie Ilsley, 11, was given high doses of radiation in an attempt to eradicate two tumours on his spine.

Now an MRI scan has shown that the growths have disappeared while a “patch” in the middle of his spine has shrunk by half.

Charlie’s parents, Mark and Toni, of Buckingham Drive, Emmer Green, say they are cautiously optimistic about the future.

Mrs Ilsley said: “I’m over the moon but I’m scared to be too happy.

“We have been living with this for three years — you get happy with one scan and the next time something could be there.

“This means we did the right thing in taking him to Turkey. If we hadn’t, he would probably be having palliative care.”

Charlie and his parents had to fly to Ankara four times in as many months earlier this year so he could undergo the CyberKnife treatment, which is not available to children at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he had surgery and chemotherapy previously.

They returned to Turkey earlier this month to be told the results of the scan.

Mrs Ilsley said: “I was really happy because it could have been terrible news. I went off for a walk and halfway to the shopping centre I just burst out crying.

“I think it just hit me that if we hadn’t gone Charlie would be dead. I I was so angry that we couldn’t get it done in our own country.

“We had been really scared and wanted it to be good news. Charlie was pretty well in himself — he wasn’t showing any symptoms —  but you never know and it’s always in the back of your mind.

“The doctor didn’t want to start the next lot of chemo until he had the results of the scan because if it wasn’t showing improvement he was going to swap the treatment.

“Charlie’s really happy but at the same time he says, ‘I really don’t want to go back’.”

The family will fly back to Turkey next month for Charlie to have another round of chemotherapy.

He will also have his stem cells harvested, so they can be reintroduced following a final, high dose of chemotherapy in the New Year.

Mrs Ilsley said: “I’m very relaxed at the moment because the MRI was good and Charlie’s bloods are all good.

“I don’t have to think ‘has it spread?’ I know it’s working and everything is going in the right direction. We can look forward to Christmas.”

Charlie, who started at Highdown School in Emmer Green in September first showed signs of being ill in March 2015.

Doctors discovered a tumour about the size of a snooker ball in his brain. Another tumour was found on his spine.

He underwent a 10-hour operation in April that year in which the brain tumour was partially removed.

He then underwent 31 sessions of radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy before he was given the all-clear in March 2016.

Then in March this year the tumours on his spine were discovered.

More than £30,000 has been raised towards the £45,000 cost of Charlie’s treatment and the family’s flights.

The family also needs to raise another £41,000 for the stem cell treatment.

They have received a donation of £20,000 from Nicolas Roach, chairman of Nicolas James Group, which owns the Harbour Hotels Group.

Mr Roach said: “I’ve got children and I saw a very brave mother fighting for her little boy who needed help.

“Her determination to leave no stone unturned was very compelling and I think we have a duty to help.

“I’ve met Charlie — he’s a lovely boy and he’s got a life ahead and that’s great news.”

He said he would be willing to donate more money but added: “I do want to understand further why it is necessary for people like myself to have to help and I’m trying to get an answer to that question at the moment.

“What is the reason that they wouldn’t provide the drugs and treatment and was it on the grounds of cost? If it was, we need to understand why it’s possible in Turkey and not in the UK.”

Reading Lions Club have donated £1,500 and a former member, who wants to remain anonymous, matched the amount.

Charlie’s school held a health and wellbeing fund-raising day and a non-uniform day which raised £2,500.

Jo Arnold, the school’s head of special educational needs, said: “We wanted to support Charlie. The students know Charlie and his story.”

Mrs Ilsley thanked the public for their generosity.

She said: “I can’t believe the support. I don’t know what we would have done otherwise.”

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/cyberknife-treatment-for-charlie

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