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