Two-year-old Harry is cheeky and full of mischief. He’s active and full of energy, choosing to run everywhere rather than walk! He loves planes, helicopters, diggers and ‘nee-naws’ – any vehicle with a siren.
This amazing little boy was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma in January 2018, turning his family’s world upside down.
With Harry nearing the end of his frontline treatment, everyone is hopeful he will be in remission when he has his next scans in April. But neuroblastoma is a particularly aggressive childhood cancer, almost 50% of children diagnosed will relapse at some point, and when that happens, less than one in ten survive.
So Harry’s parents, Carly and Ali, are appealing for your support. They need to raise £239,000 by the end of April to access a vaccine in New York that’s showing promising signs in reducing the chances of relapse, giving Harry the best chance at living cancer-free.
Harry wasn’t himself for a few months prior to diagnosis. He was restless at night, seemed tired, wasn’t playful, lost his appetite and became very clingy.
His mum took him to the GP three times and was told it was a virus. But over Christmas, he wasn’t interested in his new toys at all and his tummy started to look swollen and out of proportion.
“We took him to the GP again in the morning on 2nd January and he thought Harry’s liver felt swollen. They suggested I take Harry to the hospital for some tests. I was worried but kept trying to reassure myself by thinking, he stops crying as soon as I pick him up, surely if it was anything serious he would cry constantly even when being held?” says mum Carly.
“Lots of tests and scans were done and in the early evening we were invited into a side room, we immediately felt fear and said ‘this is not going to be good news’. It seemed like loads of doctors, and nurses came into the room and introduced themselves but I didn’t take any of their names! We were told they had found a large tumour in Harry’s tummy. I think my heart actually broke at that moment. We felt numb, scared, lost.”
They were not sure what type of tumour it was at first but it was 16cm in diameter. “How on earth did we miss a tumour the size of a ball growing in our beautiful boy’s tummy. I immediately blamed myself.”
The family were admitted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital the next day and were told his tumour was neuroblastoma. Harry developed a cold and had to spend a night in intensive care with a high heart rate.
“At one point I feared we were going to lose him. The first few weeks were a blur and I lost track of time,” continues Carly.
Harry began chemotherapy quickly which was followed by stem cell harvest and an eight-hour surgery to remove the primary tumour and adrenal gland. He has since had high-dose chemotherapy (which involves being in an isolated room for 30 days), stem cell transplant and radiotherapy.
He soon started to improve, sleeping less and moving around more, especially to the playroom! He made friends with the play staff and cleaners and still likes to walk through to greet everyone with a smile and a high five.
He also returned to playing with his big sister, Isobel, and annoying her too! Isobel has been living with her grandparents during treatment and hasn’t been able to see her mum and dad as much. “I missed big days in her life, her 5th birthday, school plays, learning to ride her bike, because I couldn’t leave Harry’s side – he’s spent over 170 nights in hospital. But she’s coped amazingly well and we haven’t had to worry about her too much.”
Immunotherapy and next steps
Harry is currently having immunotherapy and has just started his third cycle. He’s due to finish treatment in mid-April when it is hoped scans will show he’s in remission.
His family have, after much thought and discussions with Harry’s medical team, identified the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York as the best possible next step. This has shown promising signs in reducing the likelihood of relapse.
Harry’s fundraising campaign
Harry’s family have launched an appeal to raise £239,000 by the end of April to access potentially life-saving treatment. It could be his best chance of remaining cancer-free.
“Harry has had so much thrown at him to rid him of this vile disease but he takes it all in his stride and has coped remarkably well. Since his diagnosis, we haven’t asked for donations for Harry but now we need your help to raise our target,” says Carly.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help Harry: by making a personal donation; holding a fundraising event; getting sponsored to take on a challenge; or simply by following and sharing Harry’s story through his Facebook page.
Download our free Harry resources (below) to support your fundraising, and CLICK HERE for even more resources, including fundraising ideas, templates and guidance.
You can make a donation via this page, or if you’d prefer to text donate, text HADE99 and your amount £1 – £10 to 70070.
If you’d like help supporting Harry’s campaign, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 0207 284 0800 and email@example.com.