‘I’m not losing my boy,’ sobs mum after son diagnosed with cancer for third time
The Peers family were overjoyed when doctors told them Callum had beaten cancer.
Life returned to normal but, tragically, it would not stay that way.
The battling ten-year-old, who has twice successful fought cancer, has the disease once again.
This time the odds are heavily stacked against him. Doctors here give him just a ten per cent chance of living more than five years.
But his parents are determined to fight on and are pinning their hopes on pioneering drug trials.
They are trying to raise £150,000 to get Callum treatment in the US that is not available on the NHS.
Callum’s mum Nicola, 37, said: “Seeing my son fight this disease for seven years has been heartbreaking but he has never given up.
“He’s fought it and beaten it twice and I know he can do it again. We must give him that chance. I am not losing my boy.”
Callum, of Leigh, Gtr Manchester, was just three when he began getting symptoms. Nicola first took Callum to his GP with stomach pains.
In June 2013, after he’d turned four, he was diagnosed with an aggressive stage-4 neuroblastoma.
She said: “It was such a shock when they told us, the last thing we expected. It was a body blow.
“I was heartbroken but I had to carry on and be strong for Callum.
“We told him he had a lump in his tummy and was having medicine for it. He was a little hero and never complained.”
Callum had an operation to remove a tumour in his stomach and gruelling chemotherapy, immunotherapy and stem cell treatment.
He lost his hair, endured sickness, lethargy, high temperatures and spent months in hospital.
Then, in December 2014, the family got the news they were hoping for when his scans came back all clear.
Nicola recalled: “We were over the moon. Life slowly went back to normal and we started going on family caravan holidays again.”
But just over two years later, in January 2017, when Callum was getting ready for school he complained of feeling unwell.
Nicola noticed a lump on his neck. An emergency scan at the hospital confirmed the cancer had returned.
Nicola said: “To get that news a second time was devastating. It could easily have broken us, but we had to fight on.”
Callum had three types of chemo and after 12 months in and out of hospital he had kicked the cancer again.
But in August last year there was a lump on his neck and Nicola knew what to expect. The cancer had spread to the right side of his stomach. She said: “I’d thought after his treatment had finished the second time we were going to go back to normal.
“Being told again and again your boy has cancer is awful.”
Since then a tumour on Callum’s chest has been surgically removed and, days before his tenth birthday, another growing on his spine, which could have paralysed him, was taken out.
He has been through more chemo and radiotherapy, been rushed into intensive care with complications four times.
He spent his Christmas at Great Ormond Street hospital in London. Nicola said: “Callum is the definition of a fighter. I know he can beat this again and beat it for good.”
Treatment options in the UK for Callum have run out but Nicola and his dad Alan, 56, brothers Jake, 19, Joshua, 18, and Cameron, nine, and sister Bethany, 17, aren’t giving up hope.
Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Michigan is one of the few centres offering a treatment that works by targeting specific cancer stem cell pathways. Nicola spoke to consultants there and said: “Children are going over there and are still clear of disease years and years later.
“Callum has been through so much. He just carries on and he deserves this chance.
“We’re all feeling really hopeful. It’s been proven to work.
She added: “I know Callum can win his fight if we can give him the best possible chance.”
- To donate to Callum visit his JustGiving page .
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