‘My poor son’s beaten can­cer twice – please help me stop it com­ing back a third time...’

Sunday Express - - BREEDING CRUELTY - By Liz Perkins

A FAM­ILY is des­per­ately try­ing to raise £500,000 to keep their 10-year­son alive.

Harry Banks was just six when he was di­ag­nosed with can­cer. It pro­gressed to stage four – the most se­ri­ous – but amaz­ingly he man­aged to beat the ill­ness.

How­ever, after two years in re­mis­sion the can­cer, neu­rob­las­toma which forms in nerve tis­sue, has re­turned.

The can­cer af­fects only 100 chil­dren in Bri­tain a year and is most com­mon in the un­der-fives.

“I was ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated,” said his mother Nina, 41. She only re­alised it was back when he clutched his head in agony after a swim­ming les­son.

The school­boy, who loves rugby and playing on his PlayS­ta­tion, had surgery to re­move a two-inch brain tu­mour at John Rad­cliffe Hospi­tal in Ox­ford. His cen­tral ner­vous sys­raised tem was also af­fected. Harry, who has since re­turned home to Mil­ton Keynes, which he also shares with his brother Os­car, aged 12, has now been told the can­cer has cleared.

How­ever, doc­tors warned the fam­ily it will come back for a third time with­out rad­i­cal treat­ment.

The school­boy had his stem cells har­vested ahead of his re­turn to Kamran Ward at the hospi­tal to­mor­row for his next round of chemo­ther­apy and ra­dio­ther­apy.

Nina, who is his prime carer, said she ur­gently needs to raise £500,000 by mid-March to give him a fight­ing chance of life.

His fam­ily have put him for­ward for a trial of the drug called 8H9, known as Om­bur­tamab, which is be­ing tri­alled in the US and later in Barcelona.

Nina, a sales ne­go­tia­tor for a prop­erty com­pany, said they had no time to lose. She said: “I wish with all my heart that we didn’t have to find our­selves in this po­si­tion, but its ap­pears that life can be in­cred­i­bly cruel, and is be­ing es­pe­cially so to Harry, and of course Os­car.

“When he was first di­ag­nosed with neu­rob­las­toma there was no cure but they are com­ing up with new tri­als all the time in New York at the Me­mo­rial Sloan Can­cer Cen­tre and Harry is el­i­gi­ble for it.

“It will take a mas­sive pres­sure off me to know we’ve got the money to give Harry more of a chance.

“I will do any­thing I can and his father will do as well.”

The new drug car­ries ra­dioac­tive io­dine di­rectly to the can­cer cells and kills them.

“It has to be in­jected by tube, which feeds di­rectly into his spinal fluid around the brain.

“Even if we get hold of this drug after that we may need money for an­other trial,” Nina said.

“We know there is an­other trial and a vac­cine that could help Harry, he should have these as well.

“The first trial has been sug­gested by our con­sul­tant and it might be tri­alled here by the end of this year but that’s too late for Harry.”

Four years ago, £100,000 was after Harry was di­ag­nosed with the rare can­cer and has been kept in a trust fund in case he needed fur­ther treat­ment.

But the rest of the money is needed in a mat­ter of weeks to make a dif­fer­ence to his life.

Nina said Harry’s can­cer bat­tle had been a roller­coaster ride for him.

“We were over the moon when he reached re­mis­sion and be­lieved he would be one of the lucky ones,” she said.

“Con­se­quently emo­tions are all over the place and he is so an­gry at times, it’s re­ally tough. Peo­ple are try­ing to be pos­i­tive but there is a mas­sive risk of it com­ing back.

“I’m re­ally proud of him. He’s re­ally stub­born and that’s a good thing,” she said. “In­cred­i­bly he’s main­tained his char­ac­ter.”

SUR­VIVOR: Harry is all smiles with his mother Nina, above, and with his brother Os­car, left, and un­der­go­ing treat­ment for his rare can­cer on the Kamran Ward at John Rad­cliffe hospi­tal in Ox­ford

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