Jake loves playing with his little sister Phoebe, Paw Patrol, Lego and the Incredibles. He bounces on the family’s trampoline, enjoys scooting, dressing up and putting on shows. He’s recently started school and loves it so far, but his attendance is cut short due to treatment, or the risk of infection.
It’s because Jake is battling neuroblastoma, 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.
Jake’s family is raising funds in case he needs to access further treatment not available on the NHS, to either keep the cancer from returning or clear the disease if his frontline treatment doesn’t go to plan.
Jake’s story – diagnosis
Jake’s parents, Hannah and Adam, first noticed something wasn’t right back in May 2017, when Jake was waking up in the night, moaning and crying. They took him to the GP a couple of times, but there was nothing they could find.
Eventually, Jake deteriorated and ended up in Barnet Hospital A&E in July 2017. From there he was quickly moved to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). This is where his condition was diagnosed. He had stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma with a tumour near his kidney and further disease spread through his bones and bone marrow.
“Even though Jake had not been well for some time, the diagnosis was so shocking and completely out of the blue. You just never imagine that you will be told that your child has cancer. Our world fell apart. It took us months to even start to process it,’’ say Hannah and Adam.
Initially, brave little Jake had eight rounds of chemotherapy. But his parents were told that he had not responded sufficiently to move on to the next stage of the treatment plan. So he had another two rounds of a different chemotherapy. But it was the same story – still making progress, but not to the level needed.
Jake is now classed as having refractive neuroblastoma, which means he has not responded sufficiently to standard frontline treatment. So he’s had lots of additional chemo and three cycles of MIBG therapy, which involved spending three weeks in a lead-lined room in radioactive isolation at UCLH.
He’s also spent seven weeks at GOSH over the summer for high-dose chemotherapy, during which he picked up a complication with his liver. It meant that his waistline expanded by over 12cm.
Jake has just started immunotherapy which will take about six months, and he still has surgery and radiotherapy ahead.
“Watching your child going through intensive cancer treatment is horrific. Every drug Jake has received has potential long or short-term side effects and he has spent more time in hospital than most people do in their lifetime. However, he deals remarkably well with everything that is thrown at him and he has a happy positive outlook on life. We are lucky that he is no different to any other 5-year-old boy in that respect,” say Hannah and Adam.
As Jake’s family know, high-risk neuroblastoma is an aggressive and complex cancer to treat. The family is raising funds in case Jake needs to access further treatment not available on the NHS to either keep the cancer from returning – or clear the disease if his frontline treatment doesn’t go to plan.
“In particular, we are interested in the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial in New York. Our journey to date has had so many unexpected additional steps, we just want to ensure that we are ready for whatever the future may bring in terms of Jake’s treatment,” says Hannah.
Please help give Jake the best chance of beating this devastating disease.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help Jake: by making a personal donation; by sharing Jake’s story, holding a fundraising event; getting sponsored to take on a challenge.
Download our free Jake resources (below) to support your fundraising.
To donate by text, send “JAKE” followed by any whole amount up to £20 to 70085. This will cost your donation plus your standard network charge. It won’t matter if you leave a space before the number, if you include a ‘£’ sign or whether you use upper or lower case.
If you’d like help supporting Jake’s campaign, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 0207 284 0800 and firstname.lastname@example.org.