News, Culture & Society

Boy, 5, with leukaemia is cancer-free after family fundraise £500,000 for life-saving treatment


Buying or leasing a car in the UK? Check MOT of car before you do.

The parents of a five-year-old boy who won the nation’s heart in his battle against a rare cancer have revealed their joy after being told the disease has gone.

Oscar Saxelby-Lee, from Worcester, was given a ‘life or death’ three-month race against time to find a stem-cell match after his aggressive form of leukaemia worsened.

More than 10,000 people responded when a plea went out for potential stem cell donors – of which 5,000 of those queued in the rain to be tested.

After a match was found, it was hoped to be the first step to curing Oscar, who had rare T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

But parents Olivia Saxelby, 26, and Jamie Lee, 23, were left devastated when they discovered the disease had returned despite Oscar’s stem cell transplant last spring.

They suffered further heartache when they were told the NHS would not fund a second transplant or a potentially new cell therapy treatment.

The parents of a five-year-old boy who won the nation’s heart in his battle against a rare cancer have revealed their joy after being told the disease has gone

Oscar Saxelby-Lee, from Worcester, was given a 'life of death' three month race against time to find a stem-cell match after his aggressive form of leukaemia worsened

Oscar Saxelby-Lee, from Worcester, was given a ‘life of death’ three month race against time to find a stem-cell match after his aggressive form of leukaemia worsened

More than 10,000 people responded when a plea went out for potential stem cell donors - of which 5,000 of those queued in the rain to be tested

More than 10,000 people responded when a plea went out for potential stem cell donors – of which 5,000 of those queued in the rain to be tested

The desperate couple launched a fundraising drive to raise £500,000 needed to send Oscar to Singapore for a trial of a new therapy, called CAR-T cell therapy.

The campaign became the fastest online charity appeal ever and reached its target in three weeks in October.

The youngster flew to Singapore over Christmas to have the therapy and a second bone marrow transplant in a bid to save his life.

CAR-T – chimeric antigen receptor T-cell – therapy is tailored to each individual patient.

After a match was found, it was hoped to be the first step to curing Oscar, who had rare T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

After a match was found, it was hoped to be the first step to curing Oscar, who had rare T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

But parents Olivia Saxelby, 26, and Jamie Lee, 23, were left devastated when they discovered the disease had returned despite Oscar's stem cell transplant last spring

But parents Olivia Saxelby, 26, and Jamie Lee, 23, were left devastated when they discovered the disease had returned despite Oscar’s stem cell transplant last spring

The parents suffered further heartache when they were told the NHS would not fund a second transplant or a potentially new cell therapy treatment

The parents suffered further heartache when they were told the NHS would not fund a second transplant or a potentially new cell therapy treatment

The desperate couple launched a fundraising drive to raise £500,000 needed to send Oscar to Singapore for a trial of a new therapy, called CAR-T cell therapy. Pictured: Potential stem cell donors queue to be tested

The desperate couple launched a fundraising drive to raise £500,000 needed to send Oscar to Singapore for a trial of a new therapy, called CAR-T cell therapy. Pictured: Potential stem cell donors queue to be tested

The campaign became the fastest online charity appeal ever and reached its target in three weeks in October

The campaign became the fastest online charity appeal ever and reached its target in three weeks in October

It involves reprogramming their immune system cells which are then used to target the cancer.    

On Thursday, his delighted parents revealed they had been told Oscar was MRD negative – meaning there is no sign of the disease following treatment.

They posted on Facebook: ‘OUR GREATEST NEWS.

‘From “his disease is too aggressive” and starting palliative care to “MRD negative”! NO DISEASE DETECTED!

‘We know it’s early days and anything can happen especially with his bone marrow being flat, but for now we are celebrating the news that we never thought we would hear.

‘GO OSCAR YOU AMAZING LITTLE BOY!

‘Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you for making this possible.

‘We are so so so so soooooo proud!

‘Although Oscar still needs another bone marrow transplant and we are a long way off full recovery to come home, we are rejoicing at this magical time in our lives!

‘We are literally THE proudest parents right now! 

The youngster flew to Singapore over Christmas to have the therapy and a second bone marrow transplant in a bid to save his life. Pictured: Oscar being visited by members of West Midlands Police

The youngster flew to Singapore over Christmas to have the therapy and a second bone marrow transplant in a bid to save his life. Pictured: Oscar being visited by members of West Midlands Police

CAR-T - chimeric antigen receptor T-cell - therapy is tailored to each individual patient. Pictured: Some of the 4,800 donors who queued at Pitmaston Primary School, in Worcester

CAR-T – chimeric antigen receptor T-cell – therapy is tailored to each individual patient. Pictured: Some of the 4,800 donors who queued at Pitmaston Primary School, in Worcester

Oscar, who had been treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital since December 2018, is expected to remain in Singapore for six months.

His appeal was backed by the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, which has been collecting money on the family’s behalf. 

Dr Jen Kelly, the trust’s founder, said: ‘On behalf of the trust, I would like to thank everyone that has supported Oscar’s campaign in any way.

‘In particular mentioning the amazing team at Pitmaston Primary School, both the staff and parents who have gone to the most extraordinary lengths to make Oscar’s huge campaign a reality.

‘The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust is very proud to have been able to play a key role in Oscar’s campaign and we will continue to help support Oscar and other children affected by childhood cancer wherever possible.’

WHAT IS LEUKAEMIA?

Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.

It leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, which fight off infections. 

But a higher number of white blood cells means there is ‘less room’ for other cells, including red blood cells – which transport oxygen around the body – and platelets – which cause blood to clot when the skin is cut.

There are many different types of leukaemia, which are defined according to the immune cells they affect and how the disease progresses.

For all types combined, 9,900 people in the UK were diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015, Cancer Research UK statistics reveal.

And in the US, around 60,300 people were told they had the disease last year, according to the National Cancer Institute. 

Most cases have no obvious cause, with the cancer not being contagious or inherited.

Leukaemia generally becomes more common with age – the exception being acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which peaks in children.

Other risk factors include being male, exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, and some bone-marrow disorders.

Symptoms are generally vague and get worse over time.

These can include:

  • Tiredness
  • Frequent infections
  • Sweats
  • Bruising
  • Heavy periods, nose bleeds or bleeding gums
  • Palpitations 
  • Shortness of breath

Acute leukaemia – which progresses rapidly and aggressively – is often curable via chemo, radiotherapy or a stem cell transplant.

Chronic forms of the disease – which typically progress slowly – tend to incurable, however, these patients can often live with the disease. 

Source: Leukaemia Care

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.