Charlie was diagnosed with cancer after developing a black eye, lumps on his head and neck and becoming very pale. He was only 10 months old and generally a very happy and healthy baby, so cancer was the furthest thing from anyone's mind.
Following a GP visit and an urgent blood test, Charlie’s parents were given the news no parent wants to hear "your son has cancer".
“Our hearts were broken and our world changed forever”
Charlie was rushed to hospital where tests and scans, confirmed he had stage four, high risk, neuroblastoma - one of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer.
“His tiny body was completely taken over by cancer”
Charlie immediately started 70 days of rigorous chemotherapy, it was called Rapid COJEC - one of the most intense chemotherapy regimes in modern medicine. However, Charlie did really well and had minimal problems - the Doctors were amazed.
“His surgery was the longest six hours of our lives”
Next he had surgery to remove the primary tumour in his tummy, it took six hours but he recovered well and 12 days later he started the hardest part of his treatment - a stem cell transplant.
Charlie became very poorly during this phase of treatment. He suffered with VOD, a life threatening liver complication, which delayed his recovery. He spent nine weeks in isolation, which was very tough on the whole family as they were split up for such a long time!
Charlie is a true superhero!
He is now undergoing a European trial called immunotherapy to try to prevent his cancer from taking hold again. There are lots of side effects to this treatment, the main one being nerve pain, but thankfully Charlie has been given a lot of pain killers to help.
A recent scan has confirmed that there is no evidence of neuroblastoma in his body now, which is great news!
Charlie’s immunotherapy will continue until December, and then his radiotherapy will start in the early part of 2017.
Before Charlie was diagnosed, Mum was a nurse. When Charlie started his treatment, she had to give this up to care for him full time so the family income was drastically reduced.
Charlie’s family have spent the last year surviving on dad’s income, but now they are feeling the financial strain without mum’s income too.
Childhood cancer costs families an additional £600 every month*