Teddy is a cheeky, funny and affectionate little boy, who adores cuddles, playing with his friends, and is obsessed with horses! When he was just 16 months old he became ill, stopped crawling and his personality changed from lively and jolly to fearful and clingy. Initially, doctors thought it was a virus or infection but in April 2018 a tumour was found in his stomach and he was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma.
Brave Teddy has endured several blood transfusions and a number of gruelling rounds of treatment including chemotherapy. He has shown amazing spirit, handing out high fives to the doctors and nurses administering his medication.
Thanks to your donations, Teddy’s family flew to Barcelona in January 2019 to start immunotherapy, to clear any last remaining neuroblastoma cells in his body.
But while his treatment continues, his future is uncertain – in around 40-50% of children with high-risk neuroblastoma the cancer comes back and of those children, fewer than 1 in 10 will survive.
With Teddy now almost halfway through immunotherapy, his family are now fundraising to access a vaccine in New York that’s showing promise in reducing the chances of relapse. They are appealing for your help to raise £238,000 by June.
Emma, Teddy’s mum, says: “Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined it was cancer. We were utterly broken at this point, totally devastated. All we could think was that our baby was going to die. We simply couldn’t believe this was happening to our precious boy.”
Teddy had always been very sociable and outgoing, so when he started to become withdrawn in February 2018, his parents Emma and Jamie couldn’t work out what was wrong. He was ill with what was thought to be a virus and had an ear infection for which he was prescribed antibiotics that knocked him a bit. From then on he just didn’t seem to be able to get fully well. His parents took him to the GP a few times who never thought it was anything more than a virus, not uncommon for a toddler who had just started nursery. After a month of being quite up and down, Teddy started not to want to crawl and became tired very quickly.
By Easter when the family were on holiday, his parents became really worried. Dad Jamie says: “It became clear that Teddy wasn’t well as he started spiking temperatures and didn’t want to get off our laps and play or swim or go near the sand. The doctor gave him a thorough check and prescribed more antibiotics, but by the time we got home, we knew it was something more. Teddy looked pale and his whole personality had changed.”
Emma took him back to the GP again, who listened to all she had to say about the previous month and while not sure what it was, confirmed something was wrong and referred Teddy to his local hospital. The family were soon hit with devastating news – straight away the doctor identified a large mass in Teddy’s stomach and that he needed a blood transfusion.
Emma says: “Despite the mass, we were shell-shocked and in total denial. I remember sending a message to work to say I wouldn’t be in the next day but would hopefully be back later in the week. Little did I know that I would be giving it up entirely to care for Teddy as he fought for survival. It started to dawn on us that the situation was bad when each doctor who came to see us over the next 24 hours looked at us sadly and said ‘I’m so sorry.’ At this point, we hadn’t been told it was cancer, but I suppose they all knew that it was. When it was confirmed by a consultant the next day I remember clutching Teddy and sobbing.”
As well as identifying the mass in Teddy’s stomach, blood tests confirmed he was extremely anaemic and would need a blood transfusion. Initially, the doctors thought it was a type of kidney cancer called Wilms but within days a specialist consultant confirmed from the CT scan it was more likely to be neuroblastoma. Teddy had surgery to insert a Hickman line and take a biopsy and bone marrow aspirate and a few days later his parents were given the worst news – it was confirmed that he had high-risk neuroblastoma.
At this time Teddy also started to go downhill fast, struggling to breathe, with his lungs full of fluid. Emma says: “It was the lowest point in our journey so far. We hadn’t seen him smile in at least a week and I started to think I would never see him smile again.”
Teddy deteriorated and was transferred to intensive care. But he pulled through and after a few rounds of chemotherapy, his parents started to see glimmers of the old Teddy reappearing. Emma adds: “Teddy started smiling and giggling again and developed his obsession with horses! Having spent weeks being terrified of the doctors and nurses, slowly his old sociable side came back and he started bonding with them by showing them his horse figures and books.”
Teddy’s fundraising campaign
High-risk neuroblastoma is a particularly aggressive and complex cancer to treat. It has a high likelihood of returning, and if this happens the survival rate is very low. Teddy’s family are fundraising with Solving Kids’ Cancer to access the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, treatment that’s showing promise in reducing the chances of relapse.
Please give Teddy and his family hope by helping them to raise £238,000.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help Teddy: by making a personal donation; holding a fundraising event; getting sponsored to take on a challenge; or simply following and sharing Teddy’s story through his Facebook page, Team Super Ted or on Instagram.
Download our free Teddy resources (below) to support your fundraising, and click here for even more resources, including fundraising ideas, templates and guidance.
To donate by text, send “TEDDY” 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 Teddy’s campaign, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 0207 284 0800 and email@example.com