Five-year-old Oliver Stephenson flew to New York for experimental treatment (Picture: SWNS)
A little boy has travelled to New York for a pioneering medical trial aimed at preventing his cancer from returning — after his family raised a whopping £270,000 for treatment.
Brave Oliver Stephenson, aged five, was finally given the all-clear earlier this year after battling neuroblastoma, a rare cancer originating from immature nerve cells, throughout 2020.
As the super schoolboy underwent chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell treatment and a bone marrow transplant, his loved ones desperately crowdfunded for financial support.
At one point, Oliver and his dad James, 33, had to isolate together in a 15-square foot hospital room for seven weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The family watched on in amazement as kind-hearted strangers donated a staggering £270,000 which they have used to fund his place on a medical trial.
The family raised £270,000 to pay for his treatment (Picture: Laura Stephenson/SWNS)
Oliver has spent the past month at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he is on a clinical trial vaccine called bivalent.
It is hoped the treatment will train his immune system to identify and destroy neuroblastoma cells lurking in his body to prevent the disease from ever returning.
The vaccine, which costs £210,000, will require the youngster to make four more trips across the pond this year.
He returned from his recent four-week trip to The Big Apple around a week ago with his mum Laura, dad James and little brother Alfie, three.
Laura, 35, said: ‘Everything went great. The doctors were all amazing and Oliver has responded well so far.
‘It is a clinical trial so we don’t know what will happen but we are hoping that this will prevent Oliver from suffering, as he has done, again.
‘After everything he has been through it feels great to be on a positive track.’
She added the treatment was ‘quick and easy’, explaining Oliver had three vaccines, which were given via jab, and that other than some discomfort he had no obvious side effects.
Due to the length of their stay, Laura said the family were able to make a holiday out of the trip.
She added: ‘Oliver and Alfie had a brilliant time in New York, it was amazing.
Oliver and little brother Alfie, 3, enjoyed exploring the Big Apple (Picture: Laura Stephenson / SWNS)
‘Because of the pandemic everywhere was really quiet, which meant we felt very safe all the time and didn’t have to queue for anything.’
Laura, who lives with her family in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said Oliver’s favourite part of New York was Central Park and playing in the playgrounds there.
The pioneering treatment comes almost 18 months after Oliver was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer originating from immature nerve cells that affects only 100 children annually.
The family’s ordeal was worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, which meant Oliver and James had to isolate together in hospital while the youngster had chemotherapy.
Oliver suffers from a rare childhood cancer that only affects 100 children a year (Picture: Laura Stephenson / SWNS)
James was at his son’s bedside throughout but Laura and Alfie were unable to visit due to restrictions and had to make do with video calls.
Crowdfunding pages were set up to help the family pay for treatment once options on the NHS were exhausted, as neuroblastoma has a significant chance of returning.
Laura went on: ‘The incredible support and donations not just from our friends and family but around the world has been overwhelming.
‘We are so grateful to everyone who has helped.
‘It’s been a really difficult year for us and back in 2020 Oliver’s prognosis wasn’t good at all.
‘But he has battled through everything is doing well now, he’s fit and strong and even back at school.’
Despite Oliver getting the all-clear, figures show 60% of people who recovered from neuroblastoma end up relapsing.
Laura added: ‘We want to everything we can to stop that happening.’
Throughout Oliver’s ordeal, his family has been supported by the Solving Kids Cancer charity.
If you wish to donate, you can do so here: solvingkidscancer.org.uk
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