Oliver Stephenson was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma in January and, although the cancer spread from his kidney to his bone marrow, skull and eye sockets, the youngster’s story continues to inspire an ardent following of well-wishers.
The innovative ‘bivalent’ vaccine, which will cost about £230,000 and come after Oliver’s chemotherapy has run its course, has been proven to give kids a much higher survival rate and decrease the chances of cancer returning in following years and it’s this that his family want to pursue in the USA.
More than 1,800 people have donated to the bid since a Just Giving page was set up in the days after Oliver’s diagnosis.
His mum Laura, of Stairfoot, said his bone marrow biopsy came back clear of cancer recently, and the youngster had successful surgery this week to remove a kidney tumour.
She added: “It was a long morning but he’s now back with me. The surgery was successful and they got the tumour out, so now it is time to focus on recovery.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their messages of love and support. Oliver is a very much-loved little boy and he will handle this the same as he has everything else - like a superhero.
“In Oliver’s words, he had his ‘nasty lump’ removed from his tummy. In our words he had his primary tumour removed from his kidney.
“This is obviously fantastic news and we are thrilled.
“We still have such a long road ahead but we have proof that the chemotherapy is working.
“If there is one thing that this journey has proven it is that good people really do exist and we cannot thank them enough for their fundraising.
“The wires, tubes and drugs don’t bother him but being stuck inside the same four walls is hard work for an energetic four-year-old.
“As always he has been a little superstar and we couldn’t be more proud of our little hero.”
Oliver’s illness showed on Boxing Day when he was pale and had darkened eyes, but given the busy time of year it was assumed that it was just down to tiredness.
However, further blood tests came back as abnormal and subsequent scans revealed a 3cm tumour on his kidney - which has reduced in size since the treatment began - before doctors uncovered that the cancer had spread.
Family friend Lyndsey Adams, who set up the Just Giving page, added: “We have reached more than a quarter of our target already in a little over two months - we can’t thank everyone enough for this.
“Oliver is doing absolutely amazing with his treatment and is just completing the last round of chemo in this first cycle. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone that has liked, shared and donated to the appeal so far.
“The outpouring of love and support for the family has been astonishing and has even put smiles on their faces through this horrific time in their lives.”
* Visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oliverstephensonwillbeatthis to donate.