ISHAM FAMILY JOY
Brave boy is cancer-free: ‘It’s been a miracle’
THE Isham family is homeward bound, to celebrate Christmas and the miracle of their little boy’s life.
With two bone marrow transplants behind him, six-year-old Ned Isham is finally cancer-free.
Ned, who was diagnosed with leukaemia at age two, is coming home to Tasmania next week after receiving the news he is finally clear of leukaemia.
“The results came back showing he is cancer-free,” said Ned’s mum, Dr Emily Isham. “It’s such a relief … it’s been a miracle.”
The Isham family, from Kingston, have been living out of suitcases in Melbourne and the US over the past 18 months as they searched for a cure for Ned’s acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
But the journey is over for Ned, his three siblings and parents Emily and Seth Isham. “The kids are so excited – they’ve been so homesick and they’ve been such troopers,” said Dr Isham.
“We’ll be home a week before Christmas, which gives us enough time to set up a Christmas tree.”
The homecoming follows the successful results of tests taken 100 days after Ned’s second bone marrow transplant in Melbourne.
The family left for Melbourne in June 2017 for Ned’s first bone marrow transplant, using marrow from his then three-year-old sister Eleanor.
When that transplant failed, the family moved to Seattle earlier this year to be part of a CAR T-cell therapy trial that was hoped to cure Ned.
Ned was able to be part of the trial after a crowd-funding campaign unearthed an anonymous overseas donation of $600,000.
Although the CAR T-cell therapy did not cure Ned of cancer, it reduced the disease to the point Ned was able to undergo further treatment to prepare him for a second bone marrow transplant in Melbourne in August.
The second transplant has had difficult side effects, and Dr Isham said it had been a roller coaster ride over the past 18 months.
“Things have looked really grim on multiple occasions,” she said.
Writing in her blog, Dr Isham talks about the “absolute exhaustion” of the past 18 months spent travelling, making life-and-death medical decisions and coping with setbacks. Dr Isham said the allclear 100-day results did not guarantee cancer would not return.
“This doesn’t preclude it returning in the future, but in this moment, Ned is cancerfree, and in his words (with the naivety of a child who doesn’t realise this has been his last ast treatment option): ‘That at means I don’t need any ny more transplants, Mum’.”