THE parents of a young Lytham boy stricken with a rare form of cancer have launched a desperate appeal to raise £275,000 in a bid to save his life.
Five-year-old Charlie Gibson-Woolley is suffering from Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma – a condition with which only 100 children a year in the UK are diagnosed.
Tragically it offers just a 30 per cent chance of survival.
Just five months on from the first signs of developing the deadly illness, which rapidly developed into a stomach tumour ‘as big as a football’, Charlie is undergoing a gruelling programme of treatment at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
But his best hope is treatment in the USA, which could more than double his chances of survival.
Charlie’s parents Paul and Sharon have launched the Go Team Charlie appeal to raise the cash needed,
They are now appealing to the Fylde community to help. Already, neighbours and friends are helping to organise raffles and other fund-raising events , including campaign t-shirts.
Mum Sharon has given up her rented home to move in with parents Mike and Sue Woolley at Cypress Point, while Charlie undergoes eight rounds of chemotherapy treatment in Manchester.
Charlie, who also has Asperger’s Syndrome – a form of autism – had just started in reception at Lytham Hall Park Primary School in January when became ill.
“He woke in the night with terrible tummy pains,” explained Sharon.
“Finally it got to the stage where he couldn’t walk far, wasn’t going into school and looked like he was dying.”
Charlie currently has a treatment plan up to October which includes eight doses of chemotherapy, surgery, more high dose chemotherapy, stem cell rescue and radiotherapy.
Sharon said: “At that point he will hopefully be ‘disease free’ and we will then go for immunotherapy which has only been used the last two years.”
The UK offers one type but the USA offers another to hunt down any cancer cells that might have previously been missed.
“This antibody is not yet registered in the UK so families have to fundraise up to £275,000 to geo abroad.
Sharon added: “Of all the children who then go for immunotherapy the UK survival rate is 46 per cent over a two-year period and the US survival rate is 66 per cent over two years. It’s a no-brainer to me.”
The hope is that Charlie can head for the States for treatment as soon as possible after his round of treatment in Manchester.
Anyone who can help should click onto justgiving.com/GoTeamCharlie