Friday, January 4, 2013
HE is just two weeks shy of his first birthday but brave tot Frankii-Preston Church has already undergone major surgery and lost one of his kidneys as he battles a rare form of cancer.
The 11 month old from Great Yarmouth spent his first Christmas in hospital and his family fear he may be celebrating his first birthday on January 19 on the children’s ward as he fights against the disease he was diagnosed with just weeks ago.
But as the courageous youngster faces 14 months of gruelling chemotherapy his family are focusing on a happier, healthier future once he is better and have now launched a fundraising appeal to go on a dream holiday after he has finished his treatment.
Frankii’s dad Matt said he wants to take the tot, older brother Theo and mum Jazmine Olink Oxborough away to take their minds off the difficult few months they have already endured and those they are preparing for.
Matt said: “Theo is a bit all over the place and Frankii has spent three months out of 12 in hospital.
“When Frankii is all better I just wanted to take them all away and forget what’s happened. And have something to look forward to.”
Frankii was just nine months old when Matt, 25, and Jazmine, 22, noticed a bulge in one of his sides. Concerned they took him to the James Paget Hospital where he was kept in overnight for tests and scans.
The following morning they were told Frankii had a cancerous mass on his kidney and they were immediately transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where the tiny tot underwent seven hours of surgery to remove the 1kg tumour that was growing in his organ.
Doctors also removed the affected kidney.
A few weeks later, after starting his course of chemotherapy, the couple were told Frankii was suffering from an extremely rare type of Ewings sarcoma, a cancer that can affect the bone and soft tissue.
It is believed Frankii is the youngest person in the country to have been diagnosed with this type of cancer but his battle against it is giving his family hope.
Matt, a shop floor manager at Yarmouth’s O2 store, said after being rushed back to hospital with a chest infection and high blood pressure - just three days before Christmas - Frankii had become very poorly and sleepy, waking for just half an hour a day.
But on January 1 he welcomed in the new year wide awake and with smiles and laughter.
Matt added: “Before he got diagnosed he was always the happiest chap, he always had a smile and was always giggling. It was a shock not to see him smile.
“But Monday was a key day, he was smiling and giggling - it was the day he turned it all round.”
Frankii is due to finish his chemotherapy in 2014 when the family plan to go on holiday. And their campaign has got off to a great start with friends and family rallying round to raise nearly £5,000 in just a few weeks with future events planned.
The couple have been overwhelmed by the support and Matt said as donations continue to pour they plan to establish a charity and help support other families.
“We started the fund in the second week of December and it took off, we were shocked by how quickly it went up.
“It’s great to see how people have come together,” he added.
“It’s just under £5,000 and we’re carrying on. The plan after (the holiday) is going to be long term.
“We want to make people aware and want something where people in the same situation can come to.”
To donate to Frankii’s cause visit www.fundrazr.com/campaigns/4P84d