AFTER a challenging year, a five-year-old can now see the light at the end of the tunnel after marking the half-way point in his revolutionary cancer treatment.
Oliver Stephenson was diagnosed with a high-risk form of neuroblastoma last January.
He first became ill on Boxing Day in 2019 and had pale skin and darkened eyes.
At first it was assumed his illness was down to a winter cold – but tests revealed a 3cm tumour on his kidney and doctors revealed the cancer had since spread to his bone marrow, skull, and eye sockets.
The brave five-year-old has since undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant – but mum Laura, from Stairfoot, revealed she can sleep a little easier thanks to an innovative treatment which is only available in America.
The treatment involves a vaccine that helps the body to detect neuroblastoma cells and to fight them off naturally.
“Oliver finished his NHS treatment in March last year and then we immediately flew out to New York so he could have the American treatment in April.
“It’s part of a clinical trial, so it’s not available anywhere else,” said Laura. “How it works is a vaccine is given to Oliver which trains his body to fight off neuroblastoma cells – it’s like it’s treating his body to fight back.
“So far he has been responding really well to the treatment which I am happy about.”
The treatment cost more than £210,000 and Laura and partner James were diligent about raising funds to give their child the best chance possible.
A total of £269,741 was raised for Oliver – and the effort earned Laura a spot in this year’s Proud of Barnsley final.
“Oliver has a new energy now,” added Laura. “Chemotherapy made him really poorly, but with the new treatment he is like a regular little five-year-old.
“He plays rugby and swims – he can’t sit still, really.
“I want to thank everyone who has donated to help make this possible for Oliver.
“He takes everything in his stride but we are still so grateful for how far he has come.”