A mother told three times that her young son’s cancer had returned has launched a £200,000 fund-raising appeal in a bid to make sure she never hears those words again.
Nicola Cummins was first given the heartbreaking news that her son Callum Peers had neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children, in June 2013, when he was just four years old.
He received treatment for 18 months, went into remission and appeared to be doing well for two years.
But then a lump appeared on his neck in January 2017 and doctors discovered the disease had returned.
Callum again received treatment and was clear of the disease, but has since had two further relapses.
It has been a real rollercoaster ride for Callum, who is now 10, his parents Nicola and Alan Peers and his siblings Jake, 19, Joshua, 18, Bethany, 17, and Cameron, eight.
Nicola, who lives in Leigh, said: “I really don’t know how we have coped. We just get on with it. We are there to support Callum.”
The most recent relapse came when Leigh Central Primary School pupil Callum became seriously unwell and was rushed to hospital at the end of April.
He spent 10 days there before returning home, but tests later found he had a tumour in his spine and the disease had returned.
Doctors carried out an eight-hour operation to remove 95 per cent of the tumour and Callum spent two days in intensive care, before he had to learn to walk again.
Nicola said: “At the minute he’s on oral chemo because we are waiting for him to start a trial in London. We are hoping that will put him back in remission.”
Once Callum is free of the disease again, his mother hopes he will be able to travel to the USA for further treatment to stop it returning once more.
But that will cost £200,000, so she has launched a fund-raising appeal to help get her son the care he needs.
She is keen to raise the money quickly, so Callum could get the treatment as soon as he goes into remission.
Nicola said: “It would mean everything. It would stop us fearing the relapse again. We don’t want to get to that point. We know other families who have been in that situation and have had a really bad outcome.”
Fund-raising is now under way in earnest, with several events in the pipeline.
Callum’s father, brothers and family friends tackled a sponsored bike ride last weekend to raise money, cycling from Leigh to Blackpool.
His headteacher and another teacher collected more than £1,000 when they took part in Race For Life at Pennington Flash earlier in the summer.
Nicola said: “We have got a big event coming up, it’s a sponsored walk on September 28 from Anfield football ground to Leigh. When everybody gets back, there’s a fund-raising night.”
The event is being organised by Bradley Edwards, a friend of Nicola’s father who has not met her but wanted to help.
The walk will cover around 21 miles and it costs £25 to enter, which includes a T-shirt, coach travel and admission to the evening event.
To further boost funds, two people will do a sky dive, two will do a parachute jump and there are plans for a ladies’ night in October.
As his loved ones desperately try to raise the money needed, Callum is continuing to receive treatment and getting on with life.
He gets tired very easily and suffers sickness from the medication, but Nicola says he does not complain and is always smiling.
He loves dinosaurs and animals, playing football with his brothers and supporting Liverpool FC. He enjoyed a tour of Anfield earlier this week and he hopes to return to school next month.
Nicola said: “He’s really funny and he laughs, he’s always smiling. He always happy. He’s never down or anything, he has a smile on his face all the time.”