BEING told you have cancer is scary enough, but a youngster from Stratford has had to leave his home and travel to America to receive potentially life-saving treatment.
Jacob Walmsley-Jones was diagnosed with a brain tumour last September, the day before his tenth birthday.
The Warwick School pupil had been complaining of headaches and was told by the doctor it was a pulled muscle. But after a few days as his symptoms worsened, mum Aimee demanded her son had a scan.
The family describe what happened next as a ‘blur’.
Jacob, a junior player with Stratford Rugby Club, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and build up of fluid on the brain. He was taken for emergency surgery the following day, his birthday.
A biopsy taken during the surgery revealed more treatment was needed. Doctors said he would need to go to a hospital in Florida and receive specialist proton beam radiation therapy in a bid to completely remove the cancer.
Jacob’s grandad Paul Walmsley told the Observer: “The diagnosis has completely turned our lives upside down. The only thing we can do is help where we can, like supporting him and watching what he eats.
“He’s has been in America having treatment every day for four weeks so far, he has another five weeks to go and then the doctors will be able to tell us whether or not it was successful.
“He’s being such a brave little boy. He has been complaining of headaches again but we don’t know whether it is a good or bad sign from the treatment. We are just staying positive.”
The NHS said they could only pay for the treatment – to direct radiation onto the brain – so all other costs had to be funded independently.
Jacob’s dad Martin set up a website and donation page to help with the costs – managing to raise more than £20,000 in a matter of months.
It has enabled both of Jacob’s parents and his eight-year-old brother Oscar to stay together in America while the youngster undergoes treatment.
The family say when they return they plan to use any remaining money to promote awareness of brain tumours, which is the biggest cancer killer of people under 40.
Martin is posting regular updates of Jacob’s condition while they are in America. Visit www.jacobsjourneyuk.com to find out more or to donate.
Jacob found out he had cancer just five months ago and has been undergoing intensive treatment since. (s)