A CANCER-BATTLING youngster whose story inspired an army of Barnsley residents to raise more than £260,000 to fund innovative treatment will be smiling this Christmas after recent tests showed no evidence of the disease.

Oliver Stephenson, four, 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 plight inspired well-wishers to raise the cash required for further treatment.

The innovative ‘bivalent’ vaccine, which will cost about £230,000 and come after Oliver’s UK antibody treatment 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.

However, although Oliver and his family will fly to New York early next year, the youngster received a bonus in his battle last weekend when tests and scans revealed the promising outlook.
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Mum Laura, of Stairfoot, said: “Oliver had some scans and tests last week - the results are now in and we are thrilled to announce that there is now no evidence of disease.

“We are in hospital for a couple of days while his third round of antibody treatment gets up and running but Oliver is fit, well, strong and happy.”

This month will mark the year anniversary of Oliver’s journey - the 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 due to the busy Christmas period.

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.

Despite the family’s torrid year - and knock-on effects of chemotherapy which has left Oliver requiring hearing aids - the boost couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Oliver has been through extremely difficult times this year with chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, surgery, radiotherapy and endless appointments, but he’s loving school and enjoying life,” Laura added.

“He has responded to his antibody treatment really well, which means his IV drugs have been stopped.

“Oliver’s treatment is working and we are safe in the knowledge that we are off to New York for the treatment to try and reduce the chances of relapse.

“He is a very much-loved little boy and he will handle this the same as he has everything else - like a super hero.”

A total of £269,435 was raised for Oliver, but surplus cash will go towards helping other youngsters battling cancer.

“We have always said that we would like to support others on the same journey as Oliver,” Laura added.

“A phenomenal amount was raised and this is thanks to every single person that has donated money, sold items, run raffles, donated items, given up their time and just cared enough to make a difference.

“All excess money will still go to other families in the same position.”