Connah Haslam (pictured), 19, from Bury in Manchester,died this morning in his heartbroken parents’ arms
A teenager who made an emotional appeal for £200,000 for pioneering bone cancer treatment died this morning in his heartbroken parents’ arms.
Connah Haslam, 19, from Bury in Manchester, had been fighting Ewings Sarcoma – a form of bone cancer – for five years.
His condition started to rapidly deteriorate in June and his family were told last Friday that the NHS had no other treatment available.
He had been given just days to live when his mother Kelly launched a desperate appeal to raise funds to send her son to Germany for treatment.
Writing on her son’s online fundraising page, which collected more than £160,000, Kelly said: ‘Ours hearts are broken into a million pieces as I write to tell you that Connah could fight no longer and he passed away early this morning.’
She added: ‘The infections became too much for him to fight all in one go and his body couldn’t cope. We are completely heartbroken and cannot begin to imagine him not being there – it has always been us four!
‘He fought to the very end and me and his dad held him tight as he took his last breathe. It was peaceful at the end and we are spending time with him before we have him transported home.’
In a heart-wrenching weekend appeal, a visibly-weak Connah had struggled to speak when asking the public to help save him.
He said: ‘I need help off you guys. I need you to be as supportive as you can, send as many donations as you can and I need the money by Monday or I will be dead.’
Kelly, who was Connah’s full-time carer, said the family packed their car and drove to Germany, as Connah was too unwell to fly. But treatment ‘never got started.
She said: ‘I just wanted to thank everyone across the world who has shared and donated to Connah’s page.
‘I did keep him updated before he became unconscious and he was completely astounded that people were so generous to donate money to him for treatment.
‘He never got the cancer treatment started, the doctors could not clear the infections, but they worked so hard for him at the clinic.
Writing on her son’s online fundraising page, which collected more than £160,000, Kelly said: ‘Ours hearts are broken into a million pieces as I write to tell you that Connah could fight no longer and he passed away early this morning’
Connah McDougall-Haslam, pictured, with his mother Kelly Haslam, dad Andrew McDougall, sister Marlie McDougall-Haslam
‘If Connah was here he would be thanking everyone individually for your help. We have been stunned by the support.’
The Hallwang Clinic, a private specialist treatment centre, said it could have started Connah on potentially lifesaving treatment- if the family raised 80 per cent of the £200,000 treatment as a deposit.
Connah was diagnosed with the disease in 2012, when he was just 14 and attending Castlebrook High School in Bury.
He underwent many rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and then surgery, in which the whole of his femur and part of his hip joint removed, and replaced with prosthetics.
We held him tight as he took his last breathe
Following the treatment he went into remission for just under two years, but then in August 2015 his family were devastated to learn that his cancer had returned, and in a more aggressive form in both of his lungs.
Throughout the last five years Connah has been treated at the Manchester Children’s Hospital, the Christie and has also been seen at Fairfield General Hospital for fluid on his lungs.
Because of his love of video games, he had been studying IT at Bury College, but was only able to complete his first year before the punishing rounds of chemotherapy became too much for him to continue.
Since June, Connah has lost nearly 2st in weight and is continually exhausted and struggling to breath.
It was hoped that he could get a place on a clinical trial in London but the date was delayed until Connah was visited by a palliative care nurse who informed them all they could offer him now was pain relief.
Kelly said: ‘He’s always been upbeat and never stopped smiling, laughed and joked the whole way through it all.’