PARENTS from York are in a race against time to raise money to allow their four-year-old son lifesaving treatment in the US.
Two weeks ago Harvey Thompson, of Foxwood, was found to have a tumour the size of an orange on his brain and he underwent an urgent 13-hour operation to remove it.
The Woodthorpe Primary School pupil now needs a specialised form of radiotherapy available in Oklahoma or Florida to safely remove the final part of the tumour from his brain stem.
While the treatment itself is likely to be covered by the NHS, Harvey’s family need to raise money to cover living costs while they are in America.
Dave Thompson, Harvey’s dad, said the family was still coming to terms with the diagnosis.
He said: “We first realised something was wrong when he had problems with his eating, there’s a gland in your brain that suppresses eating.
“He had the MRI scan and they found the tumour around his brain stem.
“We weren’t expecting to find anything, it was a precautionary scan.
“In himself he is doing really well, the surgeons are pleased with how he has reacted. We have just got to get rid of the remaining one per cent of the cancer left.”
The trip to the US is due to be considered by an NHS funding panel. Mr Thompson would accompany his son with his father, Frank, while Harvey’s mum, Kerrie, and 22-month-old sister, Savannah, stay in York.
They have been told by specialists they will need to raise about £5,000 by the time they set off at the end of February to cover their living costs during the eight to ten weeks of treatment.
As the remainder of the cancer is on Harvey’s brain stem, doctors said the least risky way of removing it is with a proton radiotherapy not available in the UK.
The therapy is likely to cause fewer side-effects for Harvey, who has autism.
Harvey has ependymoma, a tumour of the nerve cells and cells that support and protect the nerve cells in the brain.
Well wishers, friends, family and staff at Harvey’s school have already swung into action to start raising funds.
A charity night is being held at the Quakerwood in Woodthorpe from 7pm on February 7. There will be a coffee morning and tabletop sale at Acomb Scout Hut from 9am to 3pm on February 8 and a stall at Murton car boot sale on February 9.
Mr Thompson said they had been very moved by the efforts to help, particularly thanking Sally Minskip and Charlotte Morgan who have helped organise the events.
He said: “It’s a bit of a shock that so many people are giving donations. We are getting them all over the place. It means so much.”