Family tries to raise £232,000 to take boy, four, to New York for cancer vaccine
A four-year-old boy might not be able to get the life-saving vaccine he needs after the Covid-19 lockdown hit plans for vital fundraising.
Paw Patrol fanatic Liam Scott has spent most of the last year undergoing gruelling treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare cancer affecting around 100 UK children each year.
And while the end of his treatment is finally approaching, his family know there is a high chance the cancer could return in the future.
An experimental vaccine could prevent the life-threatening disease coming back, but it is only available in New York.
Parents Claire and Michael Scott, who live in Sevenoaks in Kent, need to raise £232,000 to pay for the treatment.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Scott said: “He has been in so much pain.
“As a parent you can’t even begin to explain how you feel because you want it to be you, you want to take all that away from them and there’s nothing you can do.
“You just feel so helpless.”
After several rounds of tests Liam was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in July 2019, the day after Ms Scott gave birth to his baby sister Kylie.
Ms Scott, 40, said she and her husband were “absolutely devastated” at the diagnosis.
With no family history of the cancer, doctors said it was just down to bad luck.
Since then little Liam has undergone painful treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy.
The last round of immunotherapy is due to finish at the end of August, when the hope is that Liam will finally be in remission.
But because there is a high risk that his cancer will return, his parents want to get him the potentially life-saving vaccine as soon as possible.
The experimental treatment is being trialled at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in Manhattan.
Ms Scott said: “The aim is that it protects the body and prevents cancer from returning because this cancer that he has has a high return rate.
“They say it’s a hard one to get rid of.”
But the several rounds of treatment and accompanying flights and accommodation comes at a price.
The family are having to raise GBP232,000, a task made even more difficult by the current Covid-19 situation.
Ms Scott said: “For me as a parent I just want to get him on that plane.
“Sadly all those marathons and races that we have had in the pipeline have all been postponed because of the coronavirus.”
Their fundraiser can be accessed here: https://www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/Appeal/liam
They have received support from family and friends, and also a local footballer who has taken it upon himself to raise as much money as he can for Liam.
Former Dagenham and Redbridge player Charlie Holmes has set himself the huge task of running 10 miles a day for two weeks after hearing about Liam.
The feats are live-streamed on Instagram every day with DJs also getting involved to keep people entertained.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Holmes, 21, said: “I thought I would try and get as much money as I could for him.
“I have got a lot of support from all my friends and family.
“I just need that one person who has a large following (to share the story) and it would take off.”
Mr Holmes refuses to set himself any fundraising target other than the full amount that Liam needs for his treatment.
Mr Holmes’ fundraiser can be accessed here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/charlie-holmes-thisisforyouliam
To watch his live-streamed 10 mile runs, usually starting at 7pm, visit: https://www.instagram.com/_holmesy/