A nine-year-old cancer sufferer has launched a bid to crowd-fund more than £120,000 for vital treatment.
Alex Goodwin was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer only affecting children, in his right thigh.
His family is now hoping to raise money to pay for proton beam therapy outside the UK, because the NHS may not fund his treatment.
NHS England said it based decisions on “clinical evidence” and “what is in the best interest of the patient”.
Alex’s cancer spread after his first round of chemotherapy, which his family said leaves him with limited options.
He has been sharing his progress with his thousands of followers on Twitter and on his blog.
What is proton beam therapy?
- Proton beam therapy is a different type of radiotherapy
- It uses a high energy beam of protons rather than high energy X-rays to deliver a dose of radiotherapy for patients with cancer
- It is of proven value in some very rare cancers including tumours affecting the base of skull or the spine
- It can also be a better form of therapy for some types of patient because it directs the all-important radiation treatment to precisely where it is needed with less potential damage to surrounding tissues
- It was at the centre of a controversy in 2014 when the NHS initially refused to fund treatment for five-year-old Ashya King, whose parents took him to Spain
Alex’s family, from Dunton Bassett in Leicestershire, say he has faced months of “constant pain and discomfort” and now relies on a wheelchair to get around.
Alex took to social media to speak to others suffering with cancer and said his experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I just love people so much and its great to see everyone helping me out,” he said.
Alex’s father, Jeff, was initially against him creating an online profile but said it acts as a force for good.
“Almost everyone has been supportive on social media. It’s been a very positive thing for Alex and that’s all that matters,” he said.
Jeff, a Warwickshire police officer, and his friends also plan to record a charity single to help raise the money.
Macmillan Cancer Support fewer than 30 children a year are diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma in the UK.
The Department of Health has said that from April 2018 proton beam treatment will be offered to up to 1,500 cancer patients at hospitals in London and Manchester, following investment worth £250m.