Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Stuck in Turkey for Christmas

Stuck in Turkey for Christmas

A BOY battling cancer is having to spend Christmas in Turkey with his family after his treatment was delayed.

Charlie Ilsley, 11, was due to have his stem cells harvested but caught a bad cough so the process was postponed until he was well enough.

His parents Mark and Toni are now hoping that the treatment can be carried out before the New Year at the Memorial Hospital in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

The family, who live in Buckingham Drive, Emmer Green, flew out on December 2 and Charlie was due to start chemotherapy treatment the next day.

Mrs Ilsey said: “We got off the plane and into a taxi to come to the hospital and Charlie said, ‘I’ve got a sore throat’. The doctor come to see us the next morning as Charlie had to have a cannula put in his chest ready for the stem cell harvesting but in the night he had been coughing a lot.”

In the next two days his condition worsened and Mrs Ilsley feared her son had pneumonia.

Charlie was given three chest X-rays, which came back clear, so doctors put him on a course of antibiotics as his temperature had increased.

By the end of last week he had recovered and doctors were able to give him his cannula. Since then he has been having chemotherapy treatment, which finished on Wednesday.

Charlie, a pupil at Highdown School in Emmer Green, will now have a series of injections which should cause his stem cells to leave his bone marrow and float in the bloodstream.

Mrs Ilsley said she hoped these would be harvested on December 30 ready to be re-introduced after her son has final, high dose of chemotherapy in early January.

Her husband, a builder, returned home two weeks ago in order to work but will fly back to Turkey with the couple’s other son Ollie, 21, tomorrow (Saturday).

Mrs Ilsley said: “We’ll just have Christmas when we get back. Charlie was really disappointed and he cried at first.

“He can’t wait to get home and open his presents and have Christmas dinner.

“We have got to do the treatment as we’re so near the end. I’ve told Charlie that when we finish treatment we’re going to take him on a nice holiday. That’s what he’s looking forward to.”

Mrs Ilsley took Charlie to a toy shop on Wednesday to choose an early Christmas present.

She said: “He chose a £150 robot that moves and talks!”

Mrs Ilsley, who sleeps next to her son’s bed in the hospital in a fold-out chair, added: “There’s a nice hotel next door and I’m thinking about asking the doctor if we can have one night there on Christmas Eve and wake up there on Christmas Day.”

She also hopes that if her son is well enough they can enjoy a meal out.

She added: “Obviously, I would rather be home but I’m so used to it. It’s a shame but I don’t want to dwell on it. It doesn’t even look a bit Christmassy here so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.”

Earlier this year, Charlie underwent CyberKnife treatment, the latest radiotherapy technology, in an attempt to eradicate two tumours on his spine.

This is not available to children at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he had surgery and chemotherapy previously.

An MRI scan carried out in November showed the treatment had been successful as the growths had disappeared while a “patch” in the middle of his spine had shrunk by half.

Charlie has had to keep returning to the hospital for chemotherapy and he is due to have the final bout on January 10.

He 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 £32,000 has been raised towards the £45,000 cost of Charlie’s treatment and the family’s flights but the family 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.

A sum of £220 was raised when more than 150 people took part in an evening of carol singing at the Bottle & Glass Inn in Binfield Heath on Sunday.

The Binfield Heath Choir were joined by villagers for the event and the pub provided mulled wine and mince pies.

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